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Memorials of Methodism 





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THE writer of these veracious sketches came to 
Illinois with his father's family, and settled in 
Chicago, in June, 1835. In 1839 he became ac- 
quainted with Methodism and Methodist preachers. 
Circumstances connected with the residence of 
family relations led him to the acquaintance with 
Methodist workings in many parts of the Rock 
River Conference from the date mentioned above. 
Being four years a member of Clark Street Church, 
and having been now (1886) over thirty -seven 
years a member of the Rock River Conference, 
there are few who have a better knowledge of the 
men and times than the writer. 

Being at the dedication of Canal Street Church 
in Chicago, in 1843, we took the first notes refer- 
ring to Western Methodism; and about 1850 we 
fully determined to write such a work as we now 
give the reader. Ever since we have been gather- 
ing, as we could, items for such sketches. We have 
received information from many sources concerning 
most events, and it is wonderful how much those 
who took part in the events differ in statements. 


Out of these contradictions we have been able, in 
most instances, to arrive at the truth, and we think 
the sketches are generally correct. 

We append a few words of request and of ex- 

1. This work has been hurried through the 
press, under financial difficulties to be sure, if pos- 
sible, to get it into the hands of the few remaining 
early members before they are gone. The reason 
of this wish is, that we hope it will call forth at 
once corrections and additional matter. We ear- 
nestly request all readers to send to us at once 
every thing of interest they may recall concerning 
early societies and early workers. Be careful to 
give names and dates correctly. We are preparing 
a further work, to be mainly devoted to the life 
and times of the workei-s. All matters of interest 
illustrating the lives of such men as Jesse Walker, 
John Sinclair, Hooper Crews, Philo Judson, J. H. 
Vincent, R. A. Blanchard, Luke Hitchcock, C. H. 
Fowler, S. B. Beggs, B. H. Cartwright, etc., will 
be received with thankfulness. 

2. The body of this book was written in 1865. 
Since then we have brought most matters briefly to 
date. Every fact and date up to 1865 was care- 
fully considered. We have not had time to be so 
careful concerning matters since then. We were 


more anxious to preserve the earlier incidents, as 
the doings of later years are yet in the hands of the 
living, and, for the most part, already on record. 

3. Our idea in the beginning was to write little 
concerning living men. Concerning many men, Ave 
began with lengthy sketches; but we soon found 
we must omit much intended matter to keep our 
pages within bounds. Some of Rock River's most 
noted men have done most of their work in our 
bounds since the body of the work was written, 
and, for reasons given above, have hardly been 
mentioned. Among them are O. H. Tiffany, Ar- 
thur Edwards, R. M. Hatfield, and a host of oth- 
ers, whom we intend, if life is spared, some time in 
the near future, to enshrine in the printed page. 

4. Such a local work as this book is, will neces- 
sarily have a limited sale ; and as the money in- 
vested in it is needed for further publications, we 
trust every well-wisher will aid, by purchase and 
notice, the sale of this work. 

5. We are sure many persons will be disap- 
pointed when they find how brief is the account of 
matters which they have learned to look upon as 
of great importance. Their disappointment will be 
just; but our apology is, we found it impossible to 
crowd into a volume all that ought to be said. We 
have purposely given most space to matters of the 


early day that would be lost. A volume as large 
as this could be written concerning every prominent 
interest. If life is spared, we hope to do some of 
these things hereafter. 

We have had aid from so many, it would be 
difficult to mention all. The most effectual aid has 
come from our friend, Dr. J. H. Vincent, to whom 
we return most cordial thanks. 

If any reader shall find that his Church has not 
been written up in the following pages, he will 
please collect the early history, and forward the 
notes to the author. 


Indianola, Warren Co., Iowa. 
February, 1886. 




Introduction of Methodism into Illinois — First Appoint- 
ment in Rock River Bounds — Salem Mission on Fox River in 
1825— Jesse Walker, Page 7. 


Introduction of Methodism into Galena in 1828 — First Ap- 
pointment of the Whites in Rock River Conference— John 
Dew, 26. 

Chicago, 35. 


Introduction of Methodism into Chicago 49. 


Chicago Methodism from 1832 to 1835— First Methodist 
Church built, 78. 


New Circuits between 1830 and 1835 — Des Plaines, Ottawa 
Bureau, Princeton — David Blackwell, William Royal, . . 86. 



Galena from 1830 to 1835— First Communion in Northern 
Illinois— First Church in Rock River Conference in 1833 — H. 
Crews at Galena, Page 97. 


Progress of the Work from 1835 to 1840— Galena Church 
burns — Peter Borein in Chicago, 108. 


Progress of Methodism from 1835 to 1810 continued — Week- 
day Appointments, 130. 


The Work from 1835 to 1840 continued— Buffalo Grove— 
J. McKean — Apple River— Moses Shunk, 141. 


New Circuits from 1835 to 1840— Sycamore— Roscoe — Bel- 
videre— J. W. Whipple— Joliet— Plainfield, 151. 


The Work from 1835 to 1840 continued— Elgin— Church 
built at Elgin — Rockford — Freeport, 165. 

Crystal Lake and Dixon— L. Hitchcock, 183. 


First Session of Rock River Conference in 1840 — Rock 
River Seminary Founded, • igg^ 


New Circuits of 1840— Lockport— Savannah, . . Page 208. 


Chicago from 1840 to 1845 — Chicago becomes a Circuit — 
Abram Hanson — Love-feast Tickets, 217. 

Review of the Work from 1840 to 1845 237. 


The Wesleyan Secession — Rock River Conference and 
Slavery, 261. 


The Work from 1840 to 1845 continued — Canal Street 
Church — Sessions of Conference from 1841 to 1849— Iowa 
Conference set off, 270. 


Chicago Methodism continued — New Clark Street Church 
built — A. R. Scranton — James Mitchell Troubles, .... 286. 


Canal and Indiana Street Churches — The Mitchell Trouble 
in those Churches, 305. 


New Circuits and Resume of the Work between 1845 
and 1850 — Fate of Second Charges— Spirit-rapping — Wilbur 


McKaig — Which is the Oldest Society in the Rock Eiver Con- 
ference ? Page 321. 


Conferences of 1850 and 1851 — Bishop Hamline's Love- 
feast— Jesse Walker reburied at Plainfield — New Churches 
built — Rockford — Joliet — Other Stations and Circuits, . . 347. 


Conferences of 1852, 1853, and 1854 — Speech-making Vis- 
itors — The German Work — The Tornado of 1860 — Leading 
Dedicators — Last Traveling by Private Conveyance — Dr. 
Dempster's First Appearance, 370. 


Evanston and its Schools — Evanston founded — Dr. Demp- 
ster — Garrett Biblical Institute, 405. 


The Biblical Institute and Northwestern Christian Advocate — 
Methodist Periodicals — Editors of Advocate — Eliza Garrett — 
W. P. Jones's Elegy on J. V. Watson — Book Depository — 
T. M. Eddy, 421. 


Conferences of 1855 and 1856 — Visitors — New Charges — 
Clark Seminary — Division of Conference — Stations and Cir- 
cuits, 438. 


Conference of 1857— J. H. Vincent and Sunday-school In- 
stitutes, 45g_ 



Conferences of 1858 and 1859 — Thomas North withdraws — 
J. H. Vincent, Secretary — A. D. Field, Statistical Secretary — 
Street-preaching, Page 465. 

The Conference of 1860 — Free Methodist Secession, . 481. 


Resume of the Work from 1860 to 1864— List of the De- 
parted 501. 

Memorials of Methodism 





IF there is any evil connected with such a work 
as this, it will be a tendency to Chnrch glori- 
fication ; for there is a Church egotism as well as 
personal self-esteem. We may make such a work 
the occasion of vain boasting, or we may so recount 
God's mercies to us as that we shall praise him the 
more. How little of what we have undertaken to 
sketch would ever have been produced had not God 
been with his laborers ! We of to-day, who pass 
the months surrounded by the pleasant influences 
of Christian society, with our Churches, our social 
meetings, our Sunday-schools, and the regular min- 
istrations of the Word, do not, we fear, fully appre- 
ciate the cost at which these privileges have been 
wrought out for us. The long years of toil and 
days of anxiety endured by our pioneer members 
and preachers, if fully realized by us, would cause 
us to prize more highly the results of those early 
labors, and remember with fonder solicitude the 
names of those early workers. And let no ruthless 


hand carelessly lay waste the fair fields of Method- 
ism, planted and watered with so many labors and 
tears ! 

A few years ago Judge Smith, an old settler of 
Indiana, in delivering lectures on the early times, 
speaking of the early progress of religion, said : 
" Had it not been for these men with their saddle- 
bags, on horseback, the West would have gone to 
barbarism." In the first settlements the Sabbath 
was forgotten, the Bible little read, and vices were 
rife. But to these incipient communities the men 
on horseback went with authority from on high, and 
opened their missions in the log cabins, bringing 
back the settlers to the Sabbath and Bible and re- 
ligion of the older lands ; and the genial power of 
religion has been felt in every city and village and 
community. There is scarcely a neighborhood in 
the bounds of the Rock River Conference but was 
visited by the Methodist preachers as early as 1840; 
and if the fruits of their labors are not found in 
every neighborhood, it is no sign the fruits are lost. 
Young converts of the earlier days are found in all 
parts of the country, and many of them in the 
better land. Many of the prominent citizens of 
Chicago and other Western towns were converted 
in the country places, through the labors of the 
fathers of our conference. 

Illinois was first settled by the French, at Caho- 
kia and Kaskaskia, over two hundred years ago. 
The Americans began to settle in the State about a 
hundred years ago, coming up from the South, over 
the Ohio River. The stream of settlers, until 1835 


was from Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and the States 
South. Many of the early inhabitants were the 
" poor whites" (now, we trust, an extinct race) from 
the slave States. These came up as far as Spring- 
field, settling what, in the parlance of the day, is 
called "Egypt." The country from Springfield to 
the Illinois River, from Peru to the Indiana line, 
was mostly settled from Ohio. The country north 
of a line drawn from Peru to Indiana remained 
nearly vacant until 1835, when settlers began to 
pour in from New York and New England. As a 
consequence of the settlers coming from the South, 
Methodism was introduced from thence, bearing the 
Southern type and form. Nearly all of the preach- 
ers of the Rock River Conference, up to 1845, were 
from the South. Hooper Crews and John Sinclair, 
two of our noblest men, were from Kentucky. The 
course of the tide of immigration was from Virginia 
and Maryland to Western Pennsylvania, from Penn- 
sylvania to Ohio, from Virginia and the Carolinas 
to Kentucky, and from Kentucky and Ohio to Indi- 
ana and Illinois. 

As early as 1786 one Benjamin Ogden was ap- 
pointed to Kentucky, and in 1787 appointments 
were made to Ohio, and about 1800 to Indiana. A 
conference was appointed to be held in Kentucky 
in 1790. Peter Cartwright tells us that the first 
Methodist class formed in Illinois was organized in 
St. Clair County in 1793, Captain Joseph Ogle 
being appointed leader. A sister Newman was liv- 
ing in Whitesides County in 1860, who was a mem- 
ber of this first class soon after its organization. It 


was formed by Joseph Lillard, who, it seems, was 
the first regular Methodist preacher who visited the 
State. There were but two hundred and ninety-six 
traveling preachers on the American continent at 
that time. Another class was organized — we can 
not tell whether it was the second or not — at Ed- 
wardsville in 1801. A man by the name of David- 
son, who died at Savannah, Jo Daviess County, in 
1851, and who was a member of the first class in 
the Rock River Conference at Galena, was the 
leader. The first mention of Illinois in the Minutes 
is in 1803, fifteen years before the Territory was ad- 
mitted into the Union as a State. There is but one 
appointment ; that is simply " Illinois." This soli- 
tary circuit continued until 1815, when other cir- 
cuits began to be formed. "Illinois District" was 
set off in 1811 ; but most of the appointments were 
in Indiana and Missouri. The first Illinois appoint- 
ment (1803) was "Western Conference, Cumberland 
District, Lewis Garrett, P. E. ; Illinois, Benjamin 
Young, missionary." 

In 1824 the Illinois Conference, embracing Illi- 
nois and Indiana, was set off. There were nine 
appointments in Illinois. In 1830 there were 
twenty circuits in the State. The first conference 
session held here met at Shiloh meeting-house, in 
St. Clair County, in 1820; the second at Padfield's, 
on Looking-glass Prairie, October 23, 1824. S. R. 
Beggs was a member. 

But it does not accord with our purpose to fol- 
low up the progress of the work in Illinois. We 
shall confine the account to the limits we have 


chosen to represent. The first appointment within 
the limits of the present Rock River Conference 
was made in 1825, and was as follows : 

" Illinois Conference, Illinois District, S. H. 
Thomson, P. E. ... Sangamon, Peter Cart- 
wright (who is also superintendent of the Potta- 
watomie Mission). . . . Jesse Walker, missionary 
to the Pottawatomie Indians." 

Before narrating the occasion and history of 
that first appointment, we record the following list : 

1823, Jesse Walker, missionary to the Missouri 
Conference, whose attention is particularly directed 
to the Indians within the bounds of said conference. 

1824, Jesse Walker, missionary to the settle- 
ments between the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, 
and to the Indians in the vicinity of Fort Clark 

1825, Jesse Walker, missionary to the Pottawat- 
omie Indians. 

1826, Pottawatomie Indians, Jesse Walker. 

1827, Pottawatomie Mission at Salem, John 
Dew, superintendent and conference collector for 
the mission ; Jesse Walker, missionary. 

1828, Pottawatomie Mission at Salem, Isaac 

Brother Scarritt was sent to wind up the work. 

About 1820 John Stewart had gone up among 
the Wyandots in Ohio, and had met with wonderful 
success. This created a furore in favor of Indian 
missions. Jesse Walker caught the commendable 
fever, and this is why we find him ready to enter 
upon such work, as is indicated above. 


October 25, 1825, Brother Walker wrote to the 
Missionary Society, reporting progress. " In the 
Spring of 1824," lie says, "I opened connection with 
the Pottawatomie Indians, and found they were 
willing to receive a missionary then ; but my call to 
the General Conference prevented me holding a sat- 
isfactory council with them. Being reappointed the 
next Autumn by Bishop Roberts, I opened a school 
at Fort Clark, . . . which continued through the 
Winter, and in which I had six Indian children, 
whose progress was extremely flattering for so short 
a period. In the Spring of 1825, with five white 
families, I proceeded to the mouth of Fox River, 
shortly after which I had a most satisfactory council 
with five chiefs of said tribe. We immediately built 
cabins for the accommodation of the families. I 
then opened a school, into which I received fourteen 
Indian children. But finding that the station was 
not located on Indian land, I proceeded up Fox 
River about thirteen miles further, selected a sta- 
tion, and am now preparing to move into it. The 
place is about one hundred miles above Fort Clark, 
about twenty miles north of the Illinois River, be- 
tween it and Fox River. The soil is very good, 
timber plenty, and the spot well watered." 

These Indians roved, tented, and hunted over 
the country bordering the Illinois, Fox, and Des 
Plaines Rivers, from Fort Clark (now Peoria) to 
Fort Dearborn, at Chicago. 

At the conference of 1825 Jesse Walker was 
continued missionary, and directed to erect mission 
buildings, the government having promised to pay 


two-thirds the expenses of such improvements. The 
preacher went up to his head-quarters, taking a few 
whites, mostly his relatives, with him. These were 
the first white settlers between Chicago and Galena. 
At a place now in the town of Mission, La Salle 
County, on the east side of Fox River, Walker be- 
gan to make improvements. He called the place 
Salem; so that in 1827 the appointment appears on 
the Minutes as Salem Mission. At the close of the 
year the missionary made his report, dated Decem- 
ber, 1826. 

"I have now closed the business of Salem Mis- 
sion," he says, "for the present year, and beg leave 
to report that, in accordance with the instructions 
of Bishop Roberts, I went, as soon as possible, to 
the Indian country, and have made an agreement 
with the Pottawatomies, through their chiefs, for a 
section of land, in conformity with the articles 
adopted by the Illinois Conference, and have ob- 
tained the best titles which could be obtained from 
a rude and uncultivated nation, signed by the inter- 
preter, as a mutual friend, which instrument accom- 
panies this report. The place selected for the estab- 
lishment is about one hundred miles above Fort 
Clark, and about twenty miles north of the Illinois 
River, between it and Fox River. The soil is good, 
timber plenty, and the spot well watered. I have 
progressed as far as I could with my means in 
building and improving. I have built a house for 
the accommodation of the family, which consists of 
eighteen persons. The house is fifty feet by twenty, 
two stories high, with apartments. It is built of 


hewed logs and roofed with shingles. We have a 
smith shop, a convenience I could not dispense with, 
situated as I was so remote from the settlements of 
the whites ; a poultry-house, spring-house, and other 
conveniences. I have forty acres of land in culti- 
vation, seven acres inclosed for pasture, and one 
acre for garden. All has cost $2,400. Our crops 
are good — I suppose worth $200, when secured. 
Hitherto every thing has been attended with much 
hardship, hunger, cold, and fatigue ; and the dis- 
tance we have had to transport every thing has made 
it expensive. But with regard to the settlement, the 
greatest obstacles are overcome. A few more years' 
labor will furnish a comfortable home and plenty. 
I have talked with eight chiefs, all of whom are 
highly gratified with the mission, and have pledged 
themselves to use their influence to support it in 
its religious character, but can not legislate on the 
subject of religion. That, they say, is a matter 
between the Great Spirit and the hearts of their 
people [is this the first announcement of the higher 
law f] ; but they will defend and protect the mission 
family, and if the Indians will give up their chil- 
dren to the care and tuition of the missionaries, they 
will be glad of it ; but they can not use coercion. 
The school consists of fifteen native children — seven 
males, eight females — and two teachers. I have 
expended altogether in the establishment $2,093. 
The government has agreed to pay two-thirds of the 
expense, which would be $1,394. I have received 
from the Church $1,000, which added to the amount 
promised by the government, makes $2,394 to 


which add $107 in donations, and we have $2,401, 
which, if the money were drawn from the govern- 
ment, would leave $308. I would here state that I 
have built a horse-mill, and have it in operation. 
I have tried to be economical, and am conscious 
also of having done the best I could. A door of 
communication to the hearts of these poor, neg- 
lected, persecuted sons of men, before we can expect 
among them the exercise of an evangelical faith, 
must be opened. We must try and bring them to 
the habits of civilization." 

The building mentioned in the above report had 
five rooms. The family consisted of Jesse Walker 
and wife, one teacher, two laboring men, and two 

In June, 1827, Peter Cartwright, who, as pre- 
siding elder of " Illinois District," had the superin- 
tendence of the mission, writes : " There are a great 
many difficulties to be encountered in introducing 
the Gospel among the poor children of the forest. 
These difficulties present themselves very formida- 
bly among the Pottawatomie nation. They are gen- 
erally suspicious of the whites. Our school at Salem 
remains small, but the children learn very fast. 
There are also some recent signs of a work of grace 
in the hearts of one or two adult natives. If we 
had a religious interpreter, or if some old Indians 
were changed in heart, we think the work of God 
would rapidly spread among this wretched people." 

Cartwright writes again, in September, 1827, 
saying : " Our school yet remains small ; but the 
children are orderly, learn fast, and give attention 


to the worship of God. One adult native has pro- 
fessed a change of heart, and has been baptized. 
The natives profess to be friendly to the mission, 
and assure us we shall have more of their children. 
Our farm-crop, worth about $500, consists of corn, 
wheat, potatoes, etc. The mission property is worth 
about $500, but there is yet a debt hanging over it." 
It is probable the crops mentioned in 1826 and 

1827, were the first raised in the bounds of the 
Rock River Conference, now the granary of the 
world, excepting the gardens and patches around 
Fort Dearborn. 

The Missionary Report for 1828 says : " Latterly 
the prospects are brightening ; they were discour- 
aging at first." J. Walker, in a letter in April, 

1828, to J. Dew, who served as superintendent that 
year, and who traveled over the conference collect- 
ing funds, says : " Our school has increased to seven 
boys, from six to twelve years of age, four of whom 
are reading and writing ; the other three are spell- 
ing in two syllables. We have four girls, over eight 
and under fifteen, who are spelling in four or five 
syllables, and learning to read the easy lessons in 
the spelling-book, and two small girls learning the 
alphabet (thirteen in all), and we are expecting three 
or four more. The Indians seem to understand 
me better. This is owing to the new interpreter 
(the old one has been turned off). As to religion, 
I am sorry to say I do not see that blessed work 
of God rising among them that I have long prayed 
for. They have brought four packs of cards and 
burnt them in my fire, and some of them have 


promised to quit their drinking and go to work this 
Spring. The Indians are ordered off the govern- 
ment lands, and are returning to their sugar-camp 
in very low spirits." To which J: Dew adds, in 
reporting the above letter : " Brother Walker in- 
forms me that he has united in marriage George 
Furkee (the present interpreter, who is a half- 
breed) and Kitakokishnoquah, one of his female 
scholars, which is the first Christian marriage ever 
celebrated in the nation. They have both learned 
to read and write. The government has as yet done 
nothing, the fund being already exhausted." 

Jesse Walker reported to the conference of 1827 
twenty-five members, among whom was one Indian. 
The remainder were members of the mission family 
and a few whites settled near. In 1828 six mem- 
bers are all that are reported. These were the first 
reports of members within the bounds of the Rock 
River Conference. Mr. Walker continued as the 
missionary until 1828 ; then Isaac Scarritt was ap- 
pointed to the work, and this is the last year the 
mission appears in connection with the appoint- 
ments. The government had bargained for the In- 
dian lands, and by 1829 the tribe began to scatter, 
moving across the Mississippi, giving place to the 
inevitable white man. Isaac Scarritt was sent on 
the work, not so much to labor as to close up the 
affairs of the mission. In 1830 S. R. Beggs was 
appointed by the conference as agent to close up 
the affairs of the concern, and settle its accounts. 
He distributed the remaining property among the 
various creditors, and thus ended the first Method- 


ist appointment in the bounds of the Rock River 
Conference. The mission premises have ever since 
been used as farm-land. The Indian did not re- 
ceive the Gospel, but the white man did. 

Isaac Scarritt says of Jesse Walker : " His ardent 
zeal to be the instrument of good to Indians led him 
to view their improvement and prospects in religion 
and civilization in a more favorable light than could 
be indorsed by others not actuated by the same san- 
guine feelings." 

At the time Isaac Scarritt was sent to the mis- 
sion (in 1828), James Walker, who afterwards set- 
tled at Walker's Grove (Plainfield), was living 
where Ottawa now stands, and Pierce Hawley, Ed- 
mund Weed, and J. Beresford lived at what was 
afterwards called Holderman's Grove. These, with 
Mr. Scarritt's own family at the mission, constituted 
the whole of the white population in the region now 
included in the Rock River Conference, excepting 
the few whites then at Chicago and Galena. The 
whole region was Indian country. While at the 
mission Mr. Scarritt, with his interpreter, George 
Furkee, went on a trip to Chicago. This was in 
1829, at which time our missionary preached what 
is supposed to be the first Methodist sermon ever 
preached in that tumultuous city. On their way 
they lodged at an Indian village near Plainfield. 
A few days previous an Indian of this village had 
killed an Indian of another village some miles dis- 
tant. According to Indian custom he might, by a 
ransom, save his life. The Indians of the village 
contributed, and the culprit went on his errand 


with eight or ten horses. According to Indian law, 
his life was forfeited, and he was every hour in 
danger of falling by the avenger's hand. If his 
offer was not accepted, he must quietly resign him- 
self to his fate. But the gifts were accepted, and 
the same night our travelers lodged in the village 
the redeemed one returned with joy. Is there a 
place in this world where the poet's saying is belied : 

" In the corrupted currents of the world, 
Offense's gilded hand may shove by justice ?" 



GALENA has the credit of receiving the first 
Methodist preacher ever sent to white settlers 
in the bounds of the Rock River Conference. This 
occurred in 1828, at a time when the Salem Mission 
on Fox River was being closed up. The first rec- 
ord on the Minutes concerning this matter is in 
1828, and is as follows : 

" Illinois Conference ; . . . Illinois District, 
Peter Cartwright, P. E. ; ... Galena, John Dew ; 
Pottawatomie Mission, at Salem, Isaac Scarritt." 

Mr. Cartwright says that though he several times 
undertook to visit Galena while it was on his dis- 
trict, he never reached the place. 

Previous to the commencement of a town in 
Chicago in 1830, Illinois was settled almost entirely 
from the South, or from Ohio and Indiana, so that 
as the inhabitants came up the streams, which were 
the leading landmarks in the early day, Methodism 
came with them ; and in following the appoint- 
ments, we must follow the map from south to north. 
At the time when the country in the bounds of the 
Rock River Conference began to be settled, there 
were two points of attraction : one the new lake - 
port at Chicago, the other the lead-mines around 


Galena. The country around Galena was settled 
first; but by 1832 Chicago began to outdo the lead- 
mine country. The early settlements and earliest 
Methodist appointments were formed between the 
Lake and Fox River, and between the Mississippi 
and Rock River. 

The region of country in which Galena stands 
was purchased from the Sacs and Foxes in 1804, 
but was re-ceded to the Indians in 1816, with 
certain lands reserved, because of the supposed ex- 
istence of lead-ore. On the west of the Mississippi, 
under the French and Spanish governments, mines 
had been worked for many years. In 1819 the 
once famous Buck Lead, on Fever River, was dis- 
covered and worked by the Indians. In that year 
the first white settlers went to the vicinity of Ga- 
lena, established trading-posts, and engaged in 
smelting ore. Jesse W. Small, M. Bouthillier, and 
Dr. Muir were the earliest white settlers. In 1820 
A. T. Van Meter arrived there. In 1821 the 
United States War Department took charge of the 
lead-mines, and under the new regulations they 
were more fully and profitably worked. This ob- 
ject was secured by granting five-year leases to 
miners and smelters. At this time (1821) there was 
but one house, and that a log-cabin, and one white 
resident, on the present side of Galena. This set- 
tler was a Frenchman, the Bouthillier mentioned 
above. Most of the miners returned to their homes 
South, Winters, so that it was a long time ere there 
were many permanent settlers. There was an In- 
dian village belonging to the Sacs and Foxes — 


united tribes, among whom Black Hawk afterwards 
arose — near the site of the Commercial House 
(1861), on the corner of Main and Franklin Streets. 
" The bluffs were there, and the grassy plat border- 
ing the river. Stout bushes and stunted oaks and 
wild vines grew on the ground where houses, streets, 
and gardens are." 

In 1823 Mr. James Johnson, of Kentucky, who 
had leased a large section of mine-land, went to 
Galena, accompanied by two companies of United 
States regulars, for protection. He at once engaged 
in the mining business on Fever River. In 1824 
Lieutenant Martin Thomas was appointed agent 
of the lead-mines. The same year Captain Orrin 
Smith, Mr. Meeker, and Harris arrived. The name 
Galena was not given to the gathering cluster of 
buildings until 1827, when Lieutenant Thomas laid 
out the town. From its mineral resources, he gave 
it the name it still bears — Galena (lead ore). In 
1824 it was called " The Point " by the English, 
and " La Pointe " by the French, and sometimes 
" Frederic's Point," from a man by the name of 
Frederic, who resided below " Shot-tower Hill." 
This year (1824) there were two smelting furnaces, 
and in 1825 five of them. In 1826 there were 
about twenty log cabins and one hundred and fifty 
inhabitants. In 1828 there were one hundred 
houses, with eight hundred inhabitants. 

During these years there was little that resem- 
bled religion among the early settlers. The French 
very nearly forgot the " blessed Virgin " and their 
God, if they ever knew him, when they settled in 


that leaden Eldorado, and the true idea of Chris- 
tianity was little known. 

The first sermon in Galena, so far as is now 
known, was preached in 1827, by a Baptist preacher, 
who was passing through the place. His name and 
residence are not known. He preached but once, 
and passed on. This was two years before the first 
sermon in Chicago. In 1828 an Episcopal clergy- 
man, a chaplain from one of the upper forts, 
preached one sermon. 

The importance of the place as a mission field 
had been felt by residents from the East and South, 
and in 1828 the first missionary appeared on the 
ground. This was John Dew, appointed to the Ga- 
lena Mission in 1828. Mr. Dew thus became the 
first preacher to the whites in Rock River Confer- 
ence, and the third who labored in our bounds. In 
April, 1829, the Rev. Aratus Kent, a Presbyterian 
minister, appointed by the Home Mission Society, 
went to Galena to open up the work in behalf of his 
Church. A Methodist local preacher, one of a class 
who have often been pioneers of Methodism, was 
already on the ground, and had commenced regular 
preaching. Mr. Kent at once went to work as an 
ardent laborer, and Galena owes much to his untir- 
ing care. He preached his first sermon in an un- 
finished log building on Bench Street, and after- 
wards occupied the dining-room of a tavern situated 
on Main Street. He soon purchased an old log 
building, which had been used as a court-house, 
which he fitted up for a church and school-room. 
In this a school was at once commenced, and in the 


Summer of 1829, while Chicago was yet non est, 
Mr. Kent organized the first Sunday-school in the 
town. In the Galena Advertiser (a paper edited by 
Dr. Newhall) of December 14, 1829, there is a card 
from Mr. Kent, acknowledging the aid he had re- 
ceived in repairing his church, and announcing that 
on the next Sabbath it would be opened for Sun- 
day-school at 9.30 A. M., and for preaching at 
eleven o'clock. 

The history of Methodism properly begins in 
the Fall of 1828, although before that time there 
were resident Methodists, and, as before observed, 
a local preacher on the ground. 

As soon as John Dew received his appointment 
in 1828 he hastened up to his new circuit. He vis- 
ited nearly all the mining settlements, and marked 
out his work. There were many English miners 
on the ground, who gladly availed themselves of the 
opportunity to have their children baptized. One 
of the important points visited was Gratiot's Grove. 
It was the custom in those days for numbers of 
people, chiefly teamsters, to crowd into the mining 
country from Southern Illinois to spend the Sum- 
mer, and then to return South to their homes in 
Winter. For this reason little could be done in 
the Winter, so that Mr. Dew returned to his fam- 
ily, which he had left in the South when the crowd 
of adventurers returned in the Fall. He returned 
to his work in April, 1829, and arrived one week 
later than Mr. Kent. This fact has given Mr. 
Kent the credit of being the first preacher on the 
ground, while Mr. Dew was really six months ahead 


of him. We are not able to report the time when 
the first class was formed at Galena ; but John Dew 
reported six members at the conference of 1829, 
which were the first white members reported from 
our bounds, unless we except the members con- 
nected with the mission at Salem, on Fox River. 
These first Galena members were, as far as is 
known, Reeves Carmack, and probably his wife, 
George Davison, his wife Janette, and a blind 
daughter named Sally. 

Reeves Carmack was a local preacher from 
Southern Illinois, who went to Galena at a very 
early period, and who was probably an ordained 
man. He was a member of the first class at Peoria. 
In the old Galena Advertiser, from 1828 down to 
1833, there are frequent notices of Mr. Carmack's 
performance of marriage ceremonies. He was hon- 
orably mentioned as late as 1861 by the oldest cit- 
izens of Galena, as a plain, generous man, not free 
from faults, but who possessed to a great extent the 
confidence of the people: In later years the poor 
man fell from his position of honor ; but, after re- 
moving from Galena, he reformed, and returned to 
the Church, a penitent man ; and, so far as is 
known, maintained a Christian character until his 
death. George Davidson and family went to Ga- 
lena in 1827 with Dr. Newhall, who speaks in the 
warmest terms of their piety and consistency. 

In the Advertiser of Saturday, May 23, 1829, is 
the first notice we know of concerning Mr. Dew's 
labors. We read : " Divine service will be per- 
formed by Rev. Mr. Kent, at 10J A. M. to-morrow, 


and by Rev. Mr. Dew in the afternoon." Mr. 
Dew's labors were not confined to Galena ; but as 
missionary he traveled in every direction. In the 
Advertiser of August 15, 1829, a two-days' meeting 
is announced, " to be held by Rev. J. Dew, at Mr. 
Ahab Bean's, on Fever River, about twelve miles 
from this place, on Saturday and Sabbath, August 
21 and 22." 

Governor Reynolds visited Galena this year, and 
in his " Life and Times " says : " I visited Galena 
in 1829, and found a most singular and mysterious 
medley of people located in that place. People 
from all quarters of the earth had flocked there on 
account of the celebrity of the lead-mines. I pre- 
sume every State in the Union was represented in 
the population of this town Galena, and the mining 
districts were more moral than might have been ex- 
pected among such heterogeneous masses. I knew 
at that day there was a great amount of intelligence 
in Galena, and society existed in that town at this 
early day as enlightened and as polished as will be 
generally found in any settlement, old or new, of 
the same size. But still many indulged in habits 
not recognized in any part of the Decalogue. I 
could hear and see within a small compass, on the 
Sabbath day, preaching, dancing, cards, billiards, 
and other games, together with an occasional horse- 
race on the flat ground between the town and river. 
Mr. Kent was in the pulpit, and the dancers on the 
floor of Mr. Durant, a Frenchman from the settle- 
ment of Lord Selkirk in British America, at the 
same time, on the Sabbath." 


Such was the motley company of early settlers 
to whom Mr. Kent and John Dew strove to min- 
ister the Word of life. 

At the session of the Illinois Conference in Sep- 
tember, 1829, Mr. Dew was stationed at Lebanon, 
in Southern Illinois, and never afterwards had an 
appointment in our bounds. He had superintended 
the Salem mission, and collected funds for its sup- 
port for one year, and was at Galena most of one 
year. This is his only connection with the Rock 
River Conference ; but as the first preacher to white 
settlers he must fill no unworthy niche in our gal- 
lery of worthies. 

Benjamin C. Stevenson succeeded John Dew, 
in 1829. At the conference of 1830 he reported 
twelve members — a gain of six in a year. Small 
are the rills that make rivers ! 

In 1829 a new appointment appeared on the list. 
It was Fox River Mission, Jesse Walker, mis- 
sionary, making two appointments in our bounds, 
both in Sangamon District, with Peter Cartwright 
presiding elder. On leaving Salem Mission in 1828 
Jesse Walker was sent to Peoria. He now returned 
to the field of his many discouragements and de- 
feats, to begin his labors among a more promising 
class of people and in a more productive field. 
Already white settlers had crossed the Illinois, and 
found their way up Fox River, building their log 
cabins in the shade of the groves that beautify, like 
oases, the broad prairie-lands. To these Brother 
Walker, the veteran of many a hard-fought field, 
now turned his attention, and as an index of the 


charge upon which he labored we may mention that 
he reported seventy-five members to the conference 
of 1830. Mr. Walker settled at a place called 
Walker's Grove, from himself and family connec- 
tions, who settled there with him within a half-mile 
of the present site of Plainfield. He organized a 
class at this place, consisting of nine members. They 
were his wife, Susannah Walker, James Walker and 
wife, Timothy B. Clark and wife, Edmund Weed 
and wife, and Brother Fish and wife. There were 
but one or two preaching-places on the circuit, and 
the preacher's main business was to look out the 
ground and visit the scattered settlers. This he 
was well fitted to do, for pioneering had been the 
business of his life. 




THE appointments of the half decade, from 1830 
to 1835, which will occupy our attention in 
this and one or two succeeding chapters, were as 
follows, and all in the Illinois Conference, the new 
being marked in small caps : 

1830. — Sangamon District, P. Cartwright, P. E.; 
Galena Mission, Smith L. Robinson; Chicago 
Mission, Jesse Walker. 

1831. — Mission District, J. Walker, Superin- 
tendent; Des Plaines Mission, J.Walker; Chicago, 
Stephen R. Beggs; Galena, S. L. Robinson. 

1832. — Chicago District, J. Walker, Superin- 
tendent; Chicago Mission, J. Walker; Des Plaines 
Mission, S. R. Beggs; Quincy District, P. Cart- 
wright, P. E. ; Galena Mission, John T. Mitchell. 

1833. — Chicago District, John Sinclair, P. E.; 
Chicago Mission, J. Walker ; Des Plaines Mission, S. 
R. Beggs; Ottawa Mission, Wm. Royal; Ga- 
lena and Dubuque Mission, Barton Randle, J. 
T. Mitchell. 

1834. — Chicago District, John Sinclair, P. E. ; 
Chicago Mission, J. T. Mitchell ; Des Plaines, David 
Blackwell; Ottawa Mission, Wm. Royal; Bureau 
Mission, S. R. Beggs ; Galena Mission District, 


Hooper Crews, Superintendent ; Galena, H. Crews ; 
Buffalo Grove Mission, L. A. Sugg. 

We have now arrived at a point where Chicago, 
the great center, demands our attention. The first 
white men who ever visited the region between 
Ottawa and Chicago were Marquette and Joliet, 
two French Jesuit missionaries, who explored this 
region in 1662 and 1663. Hennepin and Lasalle, 
the first a priest, the second an explorer, followed a 
few years later. These visits led France to conceive 
the scheme of extending her possessions from New 
Orleans to Canada, which two extremes were then 
French possessions. This claim was maintained for 
an hundred years, and only dispelled when General 
Wolfe, in 1759, stood at Quebec, on the Heights of 
Abraham. The war of the Revolution gave the 
country to the United States. During the Revolu- 
tion, Patrick Henry, a State-rights man, then gov- 
ernor of Virginia, sent out an expedition to the 
forts of Southern Illinois and Indiana, and taking 
the country, Virginia laid claim to all the north- 
west, and "Illinois" was organized as a county of 
Virginia in 1778. 

In 1784 Virginia ceded to the United States 
Government all the North-west Territory, and in 
1790 General St. Clair organized the county which 
bears his name, and within which the first American 
settlements were made, and where, in 1793, a Meth- 
odist class was organized. In 1809 Illinois was 
organized as a Territory, with Ninian Edwards as 
governor. The first Legislature convened in No- 
vember, 1812, at Kaskaskia, an old French town 


the upper house consisting of five members, the 
lower of seven. After a session of ten or twelve 
days they adjourned. Nathaniel Pope was elected 
as the first representative in Congress. The north- 
ern line of the State ran due west from the southern 
bend of Lake Michigan, leaving Chicago in Wis- 
consin. Judge Pope seeing the importance of a 
lake port to the State procured a change of the line 
to its present position, throwing nearly all the ter- 
ritory now in the Rock River Conference into 

In 1818 the people organized a State govern- 
ment, and Illinois was admitted to the Union, hav- 
ing about thirty thousand inhabitants. Shadrach 
Bond was the first governor of the State. 

In 1804 the government established a fort at 
Chicago, at the mouth of the river on South Side, 
calling it Fort Dearborn, and garrisoning it with a 
company ot fifty men, with three pieces of artillery. 
The history of Chicago begins at this date. The 
garrison continued quiet until the War of 1812, 
when, fearing that so isolated a position could not 
be maintained, General Hull ordered its evacuation. 
The fort was well supplied with provisions and am- 
munition, and could, if necessary, have sustained a 
long siege. The whisky was thrown into the river, 
the powder into wells, the provisions and other ef- 
fects distributed among the Indians. On the 15th 
of August, 1812, the little band took up their line 
of march for Fort Wayne. When a mile and a half 
from the fort the Pottawatamies fell upon the com- 
pany, and after a severe fight, the whole band sur- 


rendered. Nearly all were killed either in battle, 
or massacred after the surrender. Fifty-two in all 
were committed to the burial ground, and their 
graves were to be seen as late as 1840. This 
massacre took place near where the Trinity Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church now stands. The writer 
often, previous to 1840, visited the graves of 
the slain. Perhaps a third of the band were 
saved alive. 

In 1816 the fort was rebuilt, and was not again 
without soldiers until 1836, when the last body of 
troops ever stationed there left for Green Bay. 
Relics of that old fort were to be seen on the old 
ground as late as 1860. 

The first regular white settlers were principally 
Indian traders, many of whom remained as perma- 
nent settlers after the Indians left the country. Mr. 
John H. Kinzie was born in Canada, opposite De- 
troit, and was brought to Chicago by his parents in 
1804. Gurdon S. Hubbard went to the place in 
1818 in the employ of the American Fur Company. 
Neither of these old settlers settled in the town 
permanently until 1833, Mr. Kinzie passing most 
of the time previous at Green Bay. Richard J. 
Hamilton arrived in April, 1831. It is thought by 
some that a daughter of Colonel Hamilton, Ellen, 
by name, was the first white child born in the place. 
She was born in Fort Dearborn in 1832. But there 
must have been births in old Fort Dearborn long 
before, for there were children murdered in 1812, 
and a daughter of Russel Heacock was born in 
1829. George W. Dole arrived in May, 1831, and 


P. F. W. Peck in July, 1831. Archibold Clybourne, 
who gave name to Clybourne Avenue, settled on the 
North Branch, three miles from the forks of the 
river, in 1823. In 1818 there were two white fam- 
ilies in the place ; John Kinzie lived on the North 
Side, near State Street, and Antoine Oulimette, a 
French trader, who had married an Indian woman, 
lived on the North Side near Dearborn Street. At 
that time a small vessel came around from Buffalo 
each Summer with provisions for the fort. 

The history of the present city is connected with 
the construction of the canal, now little thought of, 
but in the early day a thing of world wide fame. 
The opening of a canal from Lake Michigan to the 
Illinois River was discussed in the papers as early 
as 1814. In the first State Legislature, in 1818, the 
subject was under discussion, and in 1823 a board 
of canal commissioners was appointed, and in 1824 
the route surveyed. At this time the Sangamon 
River was the northern boundary of civilization. 
Daniel P. Cook, the member of Congress from the 
State, and after whom Cook County, organized in 
1831, was named, engineered the canal project 
through Congress in 1827, and procured a grant of 
land, including every alternate section for six miles 
each side of the canal. The site of Chicago was 
nearly all canal land. The commissioners employed 
James Thomson to lay out the town of Chicago in 
1829, and his first map bears date, August 4, 1830. 
The work on the canal was not commenced, how- 
ever, until 1836, but the fact of the scheme being 
on hand caused settlers to come into the region from 


1830 in a steady flow, until the rich country was 
settled and developed. 

The families residing in Chicago in 1829, at the 
time the first sermon we can get any account of 
was preached were James Kinzie ; Doctor Wolcott, 
Indian agent, who died in 1830, and son-in-law of 
Mr. Kinzie living on the east side of Clark Street 
on the North Side ; John Miller, who kept a tavern 
at the " Point " on the West Side, in his own log 
house, and who lived in Lake County in 1856, and 
John B. Beaubien, on Michigan Avenue, on the 
South Side near the Central Depot. Besides these 
there were some three or four Indian traders living 
in log cabins on the West Side, and the officers and 
soldiers connected with Fort Dearborn — generally 
about fifty in number. The abrupt banks of the 
river made them a fine abode of muskrats, minks, 
and skunks. The Indians had long called the 
neighborhood Che-gaug-o, from Chegaug — a skunk. 
This name the whites applied to their new town. 
Chicago stands to-day, with its grand magnificence, 
fifty-six years on its eventful history. 

The first steamboat that made a trip around the 
lakes, according to some accounts, was the Thomas 
Jefferson, which cast her anchors in the lake off 
Chicago on the eighth day of June, 1835. The 
writer of this unpretending history was a youngster 
among the crowd of passengers landed by scows on 
the docks at George W. Dole's warehouse from that 

Lake Michigan was skirted all around its south- 
western shores with black-oak sand-ridges. The 


country was low and level, and here and there slug- 
gish streams, mere bayous, whose banks generally 
were skirted with prairie, put into the lake. At 
Chicago one of these sluggish streams broke through 
the sand-banks, and poured its dark malarious wat- 
ers, from all the swamps of the immediate country, 
into the lake. The river, starting from its mouth, 
extends a half-mile west, and then parts into the 
north and south branches, which extend for miles 
towards the north and south, making the most con- 
venient natural canals any city can boast. The 
•prairie to the west was low, wet clay land, left to 
a late day to the prairie-grass, whither went the 
mowers each Summer to cut the wild prairie hay 
within six miles of the center of the city. The 
river was originally about two hundred feet wide 
and twenty feet deep. The shores were so abrupt 
vessels could lie along the banks within a plank's 
length of the shore, which rose about six feet above 
the river. 

The city commenced its growth in three clus- 
ters, — one at the forks or " Point " on the west side, 
another near the fort, and the third on the north 
side, near the lake. These clusters continued to be 
separate until about 1840, when they became one. 
The lots between the Point and the fort were of 
little value, and for a time the Point seemed to have 
the ascendency. The richer part of the town, how- 
ever, was on the north side, near the lake. There, 
in 1836, a fine hotel, the Lake House, and the St. 
James Church were built, and there arose the first 
private residence of any size. The timber skirted 


the river nearly to its mouth, and the north side 
was entirely covered with woods, when the town 
was laid out. The writer cut pea-bushes and gath- 
ered hazel-nuts near the ground occupied by the 
Board of Trade buildings as late as 1836. In that 
year the ground on the corner of Clark and Wash- 
ington Streets was covered with stumps and bushes, 
and lynx and wild-cats were killed in the woods in 
the neighborhood of the Rock Island depot, on Van 
Buren Street, in 1834. In one day, in October of 
that year, one bear and forty wolves were killed be- 
tween the Forks and Bridgeport. The city was 
built on a clay bed, and up to 1843 teams were often 
mired down on Lake Street. 

In 1831 two vessels arrived during the Summer, 
and were unloaded from their anchorage off the 
mouth of the river. Out of Fort Dearborn in 1833 
there were about thirty-five houses, mostly logs, 
with one hundred and thirteen inhabitants. The 
first frame building was built by G. W. Dole in 
1832, on the south-east corner of Dearborn and 
South Water Streets ; the first brick was a dwelling- 
house, built in 1833, on Monroe Street, between 
State and Clark. The citizens procured news from 
the outside world by sending a half-breed Indian, 
once in two weeks, around to Niles, Michigan, to 
procure all the papers, old and new, that could be 
found. The trip was made on foot, and usually oc- 
cupied a week. A debating society was formed, 
presided over by John B. Beaubien, and an occa- 
sional religious meeting held in the fort, conducted 
by Mark Noble, with gome four or five others, who 


were all members of the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. In July, 1831, the schooner Telegraph, 
from Ashtabula, Ohio, sailed by Captains John and 
Joseph Naper, arrived at Chicago with a number of 
families, among them the Napers' own families, the 
most of whom settled near Naperville. P. F. W. 
Peck, with an assortment of merchandise, was on 
this vessel. Mr. Peck put up a log store, and be- 
gan selling goods. The building was near the Cen- 
tral Depot. In 1833 he put up a frame building 
(the second frame in town), built of black walnut 
and oak lumber, hauled from Walker's Mill, at 
Walker's Grove, forty miles away. This building, 
long after used as a store, was on the south-east 
corner of South Water and La Salle Streets. The 
lot, eighty by one hundred and fifty feet, cost 
eighty-four dollars. About this time two free fer- 
ries were established, one across the North Branch, 
the other across the South Branch of the river. 
Mark Beaubien, the ferryman, neglected his ferries 
for horse-races, and was ordered by the court to 
ferry the citizens across the river " from daylight 
in, the morning until dark, without stopping." 

The first county court was held in 1831 in "the 
brick house in Fort Dearborn, in the lower room of 
said house." The public expenses of Cook County, 
which included Dupage, Lake, McHenry, Will, 
and Iroquois Counties for 1832 were $252.35; 
receipts from licenses and taxes to pay the 
same, $278.28. In the Spring of 1833 Coqgress 
appropriated $30,000 for the purpose of build- 
ing a harbor at Chicago. The Chicago Democrat 


of April 30, 1834, says, "An hundred emigrants 
arrived in the last ten days." The first vessel en- 
tered the harbor June 11, 1831, and during that 
Summer one hundred and fifty vessels discharged 
their cargo at Chicago, and as late as 1835 most of 
the provisions used in the city and surrounding 
country were shipped from Ohio. Our family used 
potatoes in 1835 at Batchellor's Grove, brought by 
vessel from Cleveland. 

In 1834 the votes of Cook County summed up 
five hundred and twenty-eight. The county at this 
time included Will and Dupage. 

The St. James Episcopal Church, on the North 
Side, was built in 1836. There was a small Cath- 
olic chapel a block east of the Tremont House, on 
State Street, between Lake and Randolph Streets. 
The Presbyterians had a house, about twenty by 
thirty feet in size, seated with school-benches, which 
served as church and school-house, where the pres- 
ent writer learned many of the elements of an ed- 
ucation, and often sat with aching bones through 
the long, dull Sabbath services. The Presbyterian 
Church was organized May 12, 1833, by Rev. Jer- 
emiah Porter, a chaplain of Fort Dearborn, its 
members consisting mainly of officers and soldiers 
of Fort Dearborn. The church was built in 1834, 
fronting north on the alley west side of Clark Street, 
between Lake and Randolph Streets. The Baptist 
Church was organized by Elder A. B. Freeman with 
twelve members, October 12, 1833, and a house of 
worship built in 1834. The town (in 1836) sup- 
ported three schools, and rooms were hired here and 


there for school purposes. We have mentioned one 
school ; there was another at the Point, taught, in a 
room about twelve feet square, by a Mr. Wakeman, 
who afterwards settled at Bloomingdale. The high- 
est classes read in the New Testament, this being 
the chief " Reader." In the Winter of 1837 the only 
school on the West Side was kept by Mr. King, in 
a dwelling north of Lake, on Canal Street. The 
writer attended these West Side schools in those days. 

The Indians had generally left the country, but 
the annual payment for 1836 was made in Chicago, 
and five thousand Indians assembled for allowances. 
The commissioner on pay day held his office in an 
old frame house on the prairie, between Washington 
and Randolph Streets, about a quarter of a mile 
from the river west of Halstead Street. 

Some forty miles to the north was a little burg 
of four or five houses, called Little Fort, now the 
charming Waukegan. Twelve miles north of .the 
town, on the Milwaukee Road, was a prominent 
tavern kept by a Dutchman, where dancing and 
whisky drinking were the chief employments. This 
place was known far and near as Dutchman's Point. 
That Dutch tavern-keeper, John Plank by name, 
was afterwards a German presiding elder in the 
Rock River Conference. 

Ninety miles to the westward a quiet man ferried 
the traveler from the south to Galena, over Rock 
River, and everywhere "Dixon's Ferry" was a 
noted point. That is Dixon now. Juliet (now 
Joliet) and Ottawa were small villages to the 


Thus from feeble beginnings has arisen the great 
city, the center of the grain trade, of railways, of 
churches, and of colleges. We have detained the 
reader too long in reading of these secular in- 
terests — turn we to the religious interests of the 
great emporium. 




WE have sketched the secular progress of Chi- 
cago for the purpose of giving a view of the 
field opened up for religious effort. We now pro- 
ceed to sketch the religious side of the eventful 
history of the gorgeous city. 

It is very likely that the companies of United 
States soldiers that from time to time occupied Fort 
Dearborn were sometimes accompanied by chaplains, 
and for aught we can learn there may have been 
preaching there as early as 1804 or 1812. The first 
sermon preached there of which we can get any 
account was by Mr. McCoy, in 1825, a man who 
was employed as a Baptist missionary among the 
Indians at St. Joseph, Michigan, at that time. At 
the date mentioned he visited Chicago and preached 
to the people. 

In the same Summer Jesse Walker accompanied 
Mr. Hamlin on a flat-boat up to Chicago. He had 
regular family prayers on the boat as they went up, 
and it may be the old soldier preached at Chicago 
on his visit there, but we have no means of know- 
ing. It was his custom to preach wherever a con- 
gregation of five or six could be gathered. Mrs. J. 
A. Kinzie, in a letter to the writer, says : " I can 


not tell whether there was ever preaching at Fort 
Dearborn before 1829, but I think there was not, 
as Mrs. Kinzie— my husband's mother— told me in 
1831 that she had not heard a sermon for nine years. 
The burial service was read over the dead, I be- 
lieve, in all instances by my father-in-law, John 
Kinzie. Marriages were celebrated by the sub- 
agent, who was a justice of the peace. General 
David Hunter, who is now (1866) visiting me, was 
a lieutenant at the garrison here in 1828, and he is 
of opinion that there were no religious services held 
in Fort Dearborn before the arrival of Rev. J. 
Porter with the troops in May, 1833. ... I 
am of opinion that a gentle, venerable old man, 
known as Father Walker, who was afterwards lo- 
cated here for a season as Methodist minister, began 
his missionary labors here at an early day." 

The second sermon preached in the place, ot 
which we can get any account, was preached by 
Isaac Scarritt, in the Summer of 1829, a few months 
before the town was laid out. In 1828 Mr. Scarritt 
was appointed to Jesse Walker's Salem Mission. 
Some time in the middle of the Summer of 1829 
he set out on a trip to the lake, in company with 
George Furkee, his half-breed interpreter. The 
first night they lodged at an Indian village, near 
Plainfield, and the next day they entered Chicago. 
James Kinzie and John Miller kept houses of en- 
tertainment, and were running opposition. Our 
travelers put up at Miller's log tavern. Mr. Miller 
felt honored by the reception of such distinguished 
guests, and strove by every means to make them at 


home, and to aid them in their enterprise. His es- 
tablishment was not quite equal to the " Sherman," 
but it was the best house in town. 

They arrived on Saturday ; on Sunday Mr. Scar- 
ritt sent word to the officer in command at the fort 
that if it were his wish the superintendent of In- 
dian missions would preach to the soldiers and others 
at such hour as he might appoint. The officer re- 
turned answer that he should not forbid preaching, 
but that he should neither authorize the appoint- 
ment nor make any arrangement for it. The mis- 
sionary declined going to the fort, but gave out an 
appointment for preaching at John Miller's house 
on Sunday evening. Most of the citizens, and some 
of the soldiers, were present, and gave respectful 
attention. During service a gang of boatmen, with 
loud " yo-heave-o," commenced landing and rolling 
up barrels near the door. Mr. Miller said this was 
a trick of Kinzie's, done out of spite to him for 
having the honor of entertaining the missionary. 
The good people of the congregation made some fuss 
about the matter, and. in everyway showed their re- 
spect for the preacher. Has not Chicago always 
thus received her ministers? How unlike the spirit 
of the St. Louis people in 1820. This is quite cer- 
tainly the first Methodist preaching in that city of 

It will be remembered that Jesse "Walker's ap- 
pointment for 1829 was Fox River Mission — in 
1830 the name was changed to Chicago Mission. 
Chicago was laid out in the Fall of 1829, and 
though the place was small, on account of the pro- 


jected canal, it had a large reputation abroad, and 
was accordingly made the headquarters of the new 
field of labor. The circuit embraced all the settle- 
ments from Chicago to Ottawa. The largest settle- 
ment and class was at Walker's Grove. Mr. Walker, 
so far as we can learn, had no regular appointment 
at Chicago, but preached there often as he traveled 
over his circuit hunting up the scattered (let us hope 
not " lost ") sheep. He must have been in the town 
enough to be known, for the commissioners's court 
of Cook County, at a session March 9, 1831, em- 
ployed him as agent to enter the land that had been 
selected for county purposes. At the term of 
court, June 6, 1831, Mr. Walker reported back the 
money, not being permitted by the government to 
enter the land. On the county clerk's record for 
this year we find the following entries : 

" July 6th, by Jesse Walker, an elder of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, married, Joseph The- 
balt to Charlotte Tosenben." 

" July 9th, by the same minister, Daniel W. 
Vaughn to Angeline Hebart." 

Jesse Walker was one of the clerks at an elec- 
tion held August — , 1830. 

But while Mr. Walker was interested in the 
white settlers, his heart still yearned after the poor 
red men of the forests, and a great part of his work 
was to look after some new developments among 
them. In 1830 a leader arose among the Indians, 
who drew converts from several tribes. Many of 
his teachings appeared to be in accordance with the 
Gospel, and it was a matter of much speculation 


among the white settlers as to whence he had de- 
rived his views. To satisfy himself on this point, 
and to render any assistance that might be needed, 
Jesse Walker at this time visited the Indians. The 
result is given in a letter of his, quoted below. 
It seems they were not ready to put themselves 
under the guidance of white men. The letter, 
which is addressed to Bishop Roberts, will explain 


" Chicago, November 25, 1830. 

"After my respects to you, I will give an ac- 
count of my labors since conference. I reached 
Chicago sufficiently soon to meet the Indians at the 
time of payment; but the agent was on his death- 
bed, and he died a few days after, so that no coun- 
cil could be held, or any thing, in short, be done 
with them. At length, after five days' starving and 
drinking, they gave them their money, and all 
broke up in confusion. One of the chiefs said all 
must be laid over till the next year. I then went 
to see the Kickapoos and those of the Pottawato- 
mies that had commenced to serve the Lord. I had 
to follow them down the Grand Prairie. Some I 
found on the Ambroise, some on the Little Wabash, 
and some on the Fox. This has taken four weeks, 
in which I have been but a few nights in a house. 
The rains have been frequent ; but the Lord has 
blessed me with health. I have returned to this 
place well, for which I am thankful. The Indians 
express a strong desire to settle themselves and 
change their mode of living. There are three 
hundred of them who attend the worship of God 


morning and evening and keep holy the Sabbath 
day. I can only say that there can be no doubt, 
but if they could get some place, they would gladly 
settle themselves, and learn to read the Word of 
God and till the earth. Such a place is promised 
them by the Pottawatomies. It is on the Kan- 
kakee, and they are going to settle there in the 
Spring. A blessed field is opened at this time for 
sending the Gospel to the North- west. God is rais- 
ing up preachers of the right kind from this glori- 
ous work, and nearly two hundred Pottawatomies 
have already joined them. These have laid aside 
ardent spirits altogether, also stealing, lying, . . . 
and all manner of sin. They keep the Sabbath day 
with all possible strictness, and speak feelingly of 
the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, and exhort 
each other to give their hearts to the Savior. I still 
have sume hope that Chicago will some day receive 
the Gospel. Please send me some instructions." 

What a missionary spirit glowed in the heart 
of the old hero ! Eight years after, Chicago was, 
under Peter Borein, all aflame with the influence 
of revival. But Jesse Walker's ardent hopes re- 
garding the Indians have never been realized, and 
it is a serious question whether the whites have 
done a fair thing by that wandering people. They 
have been driven to deeds of madness bv the un- 
scrupulous trader, and for those deeds annihilated. 
Several years after, two or three Indians became 
members of the Rock River Conference, who la- 
bored in missions in Northern Wisconsin ; but, so 
far as the Rock River Conference is concerned, the 


closing of Salem Mission ended the labors among 
the Indians. Henceforth we shall be led, not along 
the trail of the Indian, but along the wagon-track 
and railway of the white settler. We shall see the 
land of wild prairies become the land of churches, 
cities, and schools, the garden and granary of the 
world, the radiating point of missionaries to all 

In 1830 Stephen R. Beggs was sent to the Taz- 
well Circuit, near Peoria. During the year Brother 
Beggs went up to what he persisted in calling "this 
upper country," to assist in holding camp-meetings, 
one of which was held at Cedar Point, five miles 
south of Peru, on Isaac Scarritt's Fort Clark Mis- 
sion, the other at Walker's Grove. On a Monday 
morning in July, 1831, after the last camp-meeting, 
several persons started for Chicago, Jesse Walker 
leading the van. They traveled on horseback in 
old style, their dinners in their saddlebags. The 
distance was forty miles. They reached Chicago 
late in the day, but not too late for preaching that 
evening. Quite a number gathered into the house 
of Dr. Harmon at the fort, to hear the Word of life 
as proclaimed by Brother Beggs. An appointment 
was given out for preaching at 9.30 the next day, 
and the congregation gathered into an old log house, 
the residence of William See, at the Point. About 
thirty persons were present, and the meeting was a 
refreshing season. Brother Beggs gave an invita- 
tion for persons to join the Church, when eight per- 
sons presented themselves. These were William 
See and Minerva, his wife, Mrs. Lucy Walker 


Wentworth, her three children, Susan, Sabiah, and 
Elijah Wentworth, Caroline Harmon, wife of Dr. 
Harmon, and Diana Hamilton, wife of Colonel 
R. J. Hamilton. William See was appointed leader. 

August 4, 1831, Mark Noble (known in the 
early annals as Father Noble) and family arrived 
in Chicago. Mark Noble, his wife, two daughters, 
and a son, all joined the new class. This increased 
the society to thirteen members ; few in number, 
but all active Christians, which made it more than 
usually a strong society for that day. 

Of the members of this first Chicago Christian 
Church Rev. William See, for many reasons, de- 
serves the first mention. Himself and wife were 
the first resident Methodists of Chicago. We have 
not been able to fix the date of William See's ar- 
rival at Chicago; but his name occurs as a voter on 
a poll-book of a general election held in the house 
of James Kinzie, August 2, 1830. Mrs. J. A. Kin- 
zie, who heard him preach in the Spring of 1831, 
says, " He has recently come to the place." 

The government made a treaty in 1821 with the 
Pottawatomie Indians around Chicago, in which the 
government agreed to furnish them a blacksmith 
and a school-teacher for ten years. David McKee 
became the first blacksmith in 1821, and he was 
succeeded by William See in 1830. 

William See was born in Charleston, Virginia, 
in April 1787. When a young man he went to 
Kentucky, and lived near Hagerstown. From there 
he soon went to Palmyra, Missouri, where he owned 
and lived upon a farm. There he married Minerva 


Moss, and remained until his three children were 
born — Elizabeth in 1811, then George W., then 
Leah, who afterwards became the wife of James 
Kinzie. At Palmyra he joined the Methodist 
Church, and began preaching. About 1820 he re- 
moved to Morgan County, Illinois, where he re- 
mained until 1825, when he was admitted into the 
Illinois Conference and appointed to Peoria Circuit. 
This work included most of the country north of 
the Sangamon River, including what are now Peoria, 
Tazewell, Fulton, and Schuyler Counties. The only 
Methodist work north of Peoria was Jesse Walker's 
Indian Mission, on Fox River. The country was 
all new, and Brother See's work was to explore the 
new settlements. He was very active among the 
first settlers, forming societies wherever four or five 
Methodists could be found. He organized the first 
class in Schuyler County at the house of Mr. Ho- 
bart, father of Chauncey and Norris Hobart, who 
were afterwards active Methodist preachers. Let 
the reader remember that Mrs. Lucy Wentworth 
was at this time one of his members at Lewiston, 
in Fulton County. 

William See traveled this circuit two years. At 
the conference of 1827 he was elected and ordained 
a deacon, and then, at his own request, was discon- 
tinued. The probable reason was the Avant of sup- 
port for his family, as many of the best men of that 
day who had families were obliged to locate for the 
reason just given. We know but little of Mr. See 
for the next three years. In 1828 a meeting of 
great interest was held at Farm Creek, on the Peoria 


Circuit, by S. L. Robinson, the circuit preacher, at 
which meeting Jesse Walker and William See were 
efficient helpers. He must have been appointed 
government blacksmith to the Pottawatamie Indians 
sometime in 1830, for we find him voting, as has 
before been mentioned, at an election held in 
Chicago in August of that year. When he learned 
the blacksmith trade we do not know. His son-in- 
law, in a letter to the writer, says: "He was a 
blacksmith and a gunsmith; in fact, could turn his 
hand to almost every thing, from building a mill to 
tinkering a clock." 

In 1831 Cook County was organized, including 
the ground now embraced in Iroquois, Kankakee, 
Will, Dupage, Cook, Lake, and McHenry Counties. 
The county commissioners' court held its first ses- 
sion March 8, 1831, at which time William See 
was appointed clerk of the court. This is equiva- 
lent to being the first county clerk of Cook County 
at Chicago. The records as kept by Mr. See were 
preserved in the old court-house until 1871, when 
they were consumed by the great fire. Those old 
records contained many interesting items. The 
court met part of the time " in the brick house in 
Fort Dearborn, in the lower room of said house." 
The court at a session June 6, 1831, adjourned to 
meet " until court in course at the house of Will- 
iam See." The clerk was a poor speller. Most of 
the officials of every sort of that day, as well as 
the preachers, were from the South, and had had 
poor educational advantages. William See was not 
an exception. In the records we find " Sail of lots," 


"Auxineer," etc. To note this spelling, as also to 
give items of interest, we insert here the following: 

"April 22, 1831, by William See, an ordained 
minister of the M. E. Church, Joseph Papin to 
Maryan Sargarma." 

"April 24th, Wm. D. Schanks to Elizer Jane." 

"July 24th, by Rev. William See, William An- 
derson to Susan M. Wentworth." 

Two marriages were performed by Jesse Walker; 
one June 6th, the other July 9th. 

Mr. See held the office of clerk until April, 1832, 
when he resigned and was succeeded by Colonel R. 
J. Hamilton. During all these years from 1830 to 
1834 the testimony is that William See preached 
frequently, most of the time once in two weeks in 
the absence of the regular preacher. 

The ten years specified in the treaty with the 
Indians expired in 1831, and Mr. See was thrown 
out of employment. In the new country it was dif- 
ficult finding means of support for a family, and we 
find him moving about trying to find means of liv- 
ing. In the Fall of 1831 he settled on a farm near 
Plainfield, where for a time he kept a house of en- 
tertainment. It was the day of immigration, and 
the most ready means of taking in a few dollars 
was by entertaining the numerous travelers. On 
nearly all roads in that day these houses of accom- 
modation were kept within four or five miles of 
each other. Jesse Walker kept one of them on the 
Oplain in 1834. In the Spring of 1832 Mr. See 
was driven back to Chicago by the Black Hawk War. 
About 1835 he went to Wisconsin and built a mill 


on Root River, about two miles above the mouth, 
at Racine. Henry Whitehead found him still there 
in 1840 when he was on the Root River Circuit. 
About that time he left Racine and spent some time 
mining near Mineral Point. He afterward settled 
at Clyde, Iowa County, in Western Wisconsin. 
There at once he built another grist mill on a 
stream called Otter Creek, it being the first mill for 
grinding wheat in that section of country. His 
son-in-law, James Kinzie, who was living there, 
furnished the capital as an offset to Mr. See's work 
and owned a half interest in the mill. Mr. See 
continued to run the mill until about 1850, when 
he sold his interest to Mr. Kinzie and went to Texas. 
He remained there a couple of years, then returned 
to his old home at Clyde, traveling all the way from 
Texas on horseback — quite an undertaking for an 
old man of sixty-five. His first wife died at Clyde 
about 1847. On his return from Texas he re- 
married twice and lived for a while in Pulaski, a 
town near Clyde. Here he engaged in farming, in 
which occupation he continued until his death. He 
died in August, 1859, and was buried by the side 
of his first wife in the town of Clyde. The letters 
from his personal friends state that during all these 
years, from 1831 until his death, he continued 
preaching, as opportunity occurred. "He was a 
member of the Church and a preacher when he 
died," writes his son-in-law, John Turman. "He 
was," writes one, "about five feet ten inches in 
height, dark hair — bald on top — dark whiskers on 
chin, beetling eyebrows, and square chin. He was 


impulsive and full of energy; went for any thing 
with his whole soul. He made a good deal of money, 
but lost it again in unprofitable speculations. Once 
at a camp-meeting, after all the noted preachers 
had spoken, he was called upon to speak. He 
said he did not know what to say. The ground 
had been pretty well gone over; he was only a 
backwoods Southerner. One of the preachers whis- 
pered to him to give them some of his Southern 
fire. And he did, so effectually that he soon had 
the audience in a great excitement." 

While we give the expressions of his friends, it 
will, perhaps, be of interest to give a note or two 
from the other side. Before quoting, it is well to 
say that in 183 L all the society in and around Chi- 
cago was made up of "backwoods" and unlearned 
people, and that Mrs. Kinzie, from whom we quote, 
was a young married lady just from the higher cir- 
cles of the East, where she had seen little but the 
high style services of the Episcopal Church, of 
which she was a member. She says, in a letter to 
the writer concerning times in 1831 : "There was a 
certain kind of holding forth by a very illiterate, 
untidy sort of a person, named See, who called him- 
self a Methodist." In her book, "The Early Day," 
in connection with her visit to Chicago in the Spring 
of 1831, she says: "Once upon a Sunday, we rowed 
up to the Point to attend' a religious service con- 
ducted by Father See, as he was called. We saw a 
tall, slender man, dressed in a green frock coat, from 
the sleeves of which dangled a pair of untidy hands. 
He stepped briskly upon a little platform behind a 


table and commenced his discourse. His subject 
was, ' The Fear of God.' < There was a kind of fear,' 
he told us, ' that was very near alienated to love, so 
nearly that it was not worth while splitting hairs 
for the difference.' He then went on to describe 
this kind of fear. Becoming a little bewildered he 
paused and exclaimed, 'Come, let's stop a little 
while and clear away the brush.' At last, closing, 
he said: 'Which fear may we all enjoy, that to- 
gether we may soar away on the rolling clouds of 
ether to a boundless and happy eternity, which is 
the wish of your humble servant.' " It must be re- 
membered that this visit to the meeting at the Point 
Avas before the forming of the first class. We sus- 
pect the preacher was unusually embarrassed, for 
the Kinzies were very aristocratic people living 
down near the lake who seldom appeared in these 
early meetings, and it is probable their unexpected 
appearance, with the new lady from the East, threw 
our modest Brother See off his balance. We would 
pay a price for his views of his success on that 
eventful Sunday. 

To all of which it is due him to add 
yet more from his friends. S. R. Beggs says: 
"William See was, to say the least, an average 
preacher. His practical and theological attainments 
were above the average, and if he murdered the 
king's English, as Mrs. Kinzie says, the best of all, 
thank God, he murdered sin also. He was in good 
company. He was of muscular frame, nearly six 
feet high, dark hair, blue eyes, an intelligent face, 
affable and communicative, and best of all, religious. 


He would have thrown some collegiates of this day 
in the shade." 

Mrs. Lucy Walker Wentworth was born in 
Maine, October 20, 1785, and was converted and 
joined the Methodist Church at Bangor in early 
youth, under the first Methodist preaching in that 
place. She was engaged in teaching school until 
her marriage with Elijah Wentworth. Soon after 
this union they started West by way of the Ohio 
Eiver, stopped awhile in Kentucky, then went on 
to Lewiston, Fulton County, Illinois, where Mrs. 
Wentworth was a member of the Church when 
William See was on the Peoria Circuit, 1825 to 
1827. About 1828 the family removed to Dodge- 
ville, Wisconsin, and November 1, 1830, arrived in 
Chicago, where Mr. Wentworth at once commenced 
keeping tavern at the Point, in an old log house. 
William See and family were already there. Jesse 
Walker had just been appointed to Chicago Mission ; 
but as there were few people there and little to be 
done, Father Walker occupied most of his time in 
looking up the Indians, so that his visits to Chicago 
were few. Mrs. Wentworth urged William See to 
make appointments for preaching on the Sabbath. 
He urged that no one would come out to hear him. 
She made an appointment for him at his own house 
(the famed log meeting-house), and went around and 
personally invited the people to come out to meeting. 
All the white people of Chicago but three families 
attended. William See kept up regular appoint- 
ments after that. Until 1832 the meetings were 
often held at the Wentworth tavern. In the Spring 


of 1833 the Wentworth family moved on to a farm 
eight miles up the North Branch of the river, but 
retained their membership at Chicago. In after 
years (1843 to 1849) the old people lived most of the 
time with their daughter, Mrs. Susan Sweet. Here 
Mrs. Wentworth died July 28, 1849, aged seventy- 
four years. Her remains rest in the family lot at 
Rose Hill. Mrs. Wentworth was a small woman, 
full of energy. She did what she could for temper- 
ance, Sunday-schools, and other enterprises. In 
1840-42, when some Chicago Abolition Methodist 
persisted in sending Abolition petitions to the Rock 
River Conference, Lucy Wentworth's name was 
among the signers. 

Susan Wentworth became the wife of a 
Brother Sweet, who, in .1842-46, kept a' grocery on 
the North Side. She afterwards removed to St. 
Joseph, Michigan, where she died. 

Sabiah Wentworth married a man by the 
name of Estes in 1836, and settled in Milwaukee. 
She was still living in 1884. Her daughter is (1884) 
the wife of Rev. Isaac Linebarger. 

Colonel R. J. Hamilton went to Chicago, April 
9, 1831. His wife, who joined the first class, was 
an active Methodist, always foremost in every good 
work until her happy death in the Spring of 1834. 

Dr. Harmon came with his Methodist wife from 
Vermont in 1831. 

On the 4th of August, 1831, Mark Noble, known 
in the early annals as Father Noble, and family ar- 
rived. Mark Noble, his wife, his two daughters, 
Mary and Elizabeth, and a son, all joined the new 


class. The society now consisted of thirteen mem- 
bers ; few in number, but all active Christians, 
which made it more than a usually strong society 

for that day. 

This first Methodist class was formed in the log 
dwelling of William See. As it will be referred to 
frequently in these pages, and as it was the first 
meeting-house of any kind in Chicago, we will insert 
in this place a few notes concerning it. 

At the conference of 1832. Jesse Walker was ap- 
pointed in charge of the Chicago District and of 
"Chicago Mission. Brother Walker's first wife had 
died in the Spring of 1832, and until he married 
again, in July, 1833, he was without a home. On 
going up to Chicago from his former home at Walk- 
er's Grove (Plainfield), he purchased the log house 
in which William See lived, and fitted up one part 
of it as a place for meetings. In the other part he 
lived alone whenever he was in town. Up to 1836 
there was a room of some note called " Watkins's 
School-house," which was often used as a meeting- 
place. To this house reference is made in the fol- 
lowing, which we quote, because of its reference to 
the log church. The quotation is from John Wat- 
kins, the first school-teacher in Chicago. He says : 
" I commenced teaching in the Fall after the Black 
Hawk war of 1832. My first school-house was situ- 
ated on the North Side, about half-way between the 
lake and the forks of the river, then known as 
Wolf's Point. The building was owned by R. J. 
Hamilton — was erected as a stable. It was twelve 
feet square. . . . After the first quarter I moved 


my school into a double log house on the West Side. 
It was owned by Kev. Jesse Walker, and was located 
near the bank of the river, where the North and 
South Branches meet. He resided in one end of 
the building, and I taught in the other. On Sun- 
days Father Walker preached in the room where I 

" Jesse Walker was my successor," says S. R. 
Beggs, " in 1832. Myself and wife attended his 
first quarterly meeting. The meeting-house, par- 
sonage, parlor, and kitchen was all the same old log 
house that we formed the first class in, in 1831. 
Mrs. Beggs and myself were permitted to dine with 
the old hero. His stove was one of the box kind, 
with one griddle-hole. Here he boiled the tea- 
kettle, fried the meat, and boiled the scanty vegeta- 
bles, each in its turn. He had for his table a large 
chest, and when dinner was served we surrounded 
the chest, and, having good appetites, the dinner 
was refreshing." 

The first Sunday-school in Chicago (now the 
First Presbyterian) was commenced in August, 

1832. From April, 1833, till August the school 
met at the log church. 

Rev. Jeremiah Porter, who organized the First 
Presbyterian Church, arrived in Chicago May 4, 

1833, and preached his first sermon in Jesse Walk- 
er's meeting-house. The Church just mentioned 
was organized June 26, 1833. After the organiza- 
tion the following service, as narrated by Mr. Por- 
ter, occurred : " At our first communion season in 
that old school-house of logs, sitting on oak slabs, 


we had very little to suggest present luxuries, except 
one silver cup brought by Major Wilcox from his 
own table. . . • That house called Father Walker's, 
at the Point, on the West Side, witnessed the first 
communion season of our Church on the west shore 
of Lake Michigan, except at the Stockbridge Mis- 
sion at Green Bay." The first Methodist sacramental 
occasion was in January, 1832. 

James Rockwell, who had a great deal to do 
with Chicago Methodism from 1834 till 1838, in 
speaking of various matters, says : " I arrived in 
Chicago, May 18, 1834; Jesse Walker, missionary ; 
a log church ; the Bible lay on the center beam. 
It was held sacred by whites and Indians. At the 
Indian payment we had some disturbance in our 
worship. On arriving once for evening prayer- 
meeting we found the Indians had stored pork, sad- 
dles, blankets, etc., in the house. Father Walker 
requested their removal ; said they were desecrating 
God's house. The things were all removed at once. 
Being encamped near the house they became quite 
noisy through strong drink. A kind word from the 
preacher made all quiet, which showed their respect 
for one they knew to be their friend." 

Chicago in 1831, and on till about 1838, was 
divided into three distinct communities. One clus- 
ter of settlements was on the North Side, near the 
lake ; another on the South Side, around Fort Dear- 
born, on the lake shore ; the other at the Point, on 
the West Side. There was no means of communi- 
cation but by canoes in 1831, and ferries after that. 

Besides, between the lake and the branches the land 



was swampy, so that most of the time it was difficult 
passing from one point to another. For years a 
trail followed the dry river's bank. This was the 
reason the meetings and schools were so frequently 
changed from one part of the town to the other. 
The Methodists built a frame church on the North 
Side in 1834. Until then the Methodists continued 
to divide their meetings between the log church, 
Watkins's school-house, and Father Noble's house, 
on the lake, south of the fort. It will be readily 
understood that much rivalry existed between the 
several communities — a rivalry that a good deal in- 
terfered with the meetings until permanent houses 
were built. It is a rather curious fact that all sides 
have had the first Methodist church. The first 
church (the log) was on the West Side ; the first 
frame on the North, which was finally moved to the 
South Side, where the only Methodist society in the 
city worshiped until a second church was organized 
on the West Side in 1843. 

Father Noble on his arrival in 1831 rented an 
old log house on the North Side, opposite the fort, 
which he at once opened for meetings on the Sab- 
bath. The services usually consisted of reading the 
Scriptures, exhortations, and prayer, followed by a 
class-meeting, led by Mr. Noble, who by this time 
had been appointed class-leader. This kind of ser- 
vice he had performed thirty or forty years before 
coming to Chicago. The meetings were well at- 
tended, the house generally being full of those who 
came out to worship. To accommodate the people 
at the Point the meetings were frequently held 


there ; sometimes in William See's house, sometimes 
in Mr. Wentworth's tavern. 

The most prominent citizens of the place in the 
Fall of 1831 were at the Point: Elijah Wentworth 
and family, occupying a house partly log, partly 
frame, in which was kept the best tavern in town ; 
James Kinzie, who resided near Wentworth's ; Will- 
iam See, Alexander Robinson, Robert A. Kinzie, 
who kept a store of dry-goods and groceries. On 
the North Side on the North Branch, Samuel and 
John Miller, who kept tavern, resided. On the 
East Side of South Branch was Mark Beaubien's 
tavern, and near Randolph Street an Indian trader, 
Bourisso, by name. Between Beaubien's tavern 
and Fort Dearborn there were no houses except a 
small log cabin near the river on Dearborn Street. 
South of the garrison was the residence of J. B. 
Beaubien, and an unoccupied house stood south of 
his house. On the North Side, opposite Fort Dear- 
born, was the old Kinzie house, into which Mark 
Noble moved in August. A short distance to the 
west of this stood what had been the government 
agency house, known as "Cobweb Castle;" this 
was vacant. In the vicinity were several log build- 
ings, making about a dozen families in all in the 
Fall of 1831. Such was the city when Methodism 
first set up her banners there. 

Jesse Walker resided at Walker's Grove during 
the year 1830-31. In the Summer he held the 
camp-meeting near his residence, to which reference 
has been made, and which S. R. Beggs went up 
from Holland's Grove to attend. After attending 


the meeting at Cedar Point, Beggs set out with 
Caleb Hitt for Walker's Grove. They passed 
through Ottawa and on to Holderman's Grove, and 
missing their way they wandered through groves 
and over prairies, and reached the place of destina- 
tion late in the day. The beautiful Dupage, the 
prairie richly strewn with flowers as far as the eye 
could see, charmed Brother Beggs, and the warm 
reception from the lonesome Brother Walker 
charmed him more. The meeting with a brother 
minister in that day was a thing to be remembered. 
The camp-meeting came on. Beggs had come from 
near Peoria, more than a hundred miles, in the 
flush and zeal of young manhood; Isaac Scarritt 
had found his way up from the lonely regions south 
of Peru, and William See had left his tongs and 
hammers and official duties, and come down from 
Chicago for a feast in the wilderness. These con- 
stituted the entire corps of Methodist preachers 
from Peoria to the North Pole. The meeting com- 
menced and continued encouragingly, and the bat- 
tle waxed warmer and warmer until Sunday even- 
ing, "when victory turned on Israel's side." Mr. 
Beggs that night invited mourners, and they came 
in good earnest, and the power of God was displayed 
in the conversion of souls. The membership, much 
renewed, blessed God and took courage. There 
were some two hundred whites at the meeting and 
a large company of Indians. 

At the close of this year Jesse Walker could not 
attend the conference which met at Indianapolis, 
but having asked Brother Beggs if he was willing 


to go to Chicago Mission, he wrote to Bishop Rob- 
erts about the matter, and S. R. Beggs was appointed 
to the charge. The growing importance of the 
place made all conclude it was a fitting thing for 
a preacher to give his whole attention to the rising 
lake port. Chicago the year before was merely an 
appointment on Jesse Walker's large mission, and 
S. R. Beggs can claim the credit of being the first 
Methodist preacher regularly appointed to the city. 
But from circumstances which we shall relate the 
year's labor was nearly all lost. The newly ap- 
pointed preacher had taken his wife with him to 
conference, and at its adjournment the two set out 
on horseback to visit Brother Beggs's father in 
Southern Indiana. The work at Chicago demanded 
the preacher's presence, and after a few days' visit 
preacher and wife, still on horseback, set out for 
the north. They were then four hundred and fifty 
miles from Chicago, and must return by Washing- 
ton, Illinois, where Mrs. Beggs usually resided with 
her parents. On the day of their arrival home they 
were obliged to cross Mackinaw River, which was 
high and the current swift. The flood beat their 
horses down stream so far that when they reached 
the shore the water was pouring over the horses' 
backs. Mr. Beggs crawled to the bank and thrust 
a pole down into the water, on which Mrs. Beggs 
climbed to the shore wet and cold. " Had we been 
in a buggy," says Mr. Beggs, "we should hardly 
have got out; so we found some benefit in being 
poor." After wringing their clothes as well as they 
could, they mounted their horses, and in this plight 


hurried on to the welcome home of Mr. Heath, 
Mrs. Beggs's father, at which place they arrived 
just before dark, "happy in the Lord, and praising 
him for all his mercies." 

Brother Beggs at once set out for Chicago to 
take charge of the little class he had aided in gath- 
ering a few months before. He found them all 
continuing faithful. He set up the standard of the 
cross and made arrangements for the year. The 
meetings were generally held in the fort, and they 
increased in interest until the first quarterly meet- 
ing, which was held in January, 1832. Jesse 
Walker was on that portion of the last year's cir- 
cuit which remained after Chicago was set off", and 
also superintendent of the whole work in the "up- 
per country." Brother Beggs went down to assist 
him in holding a meeting at Walker's Grove. After 
the meeting closed Brothers Beggs and Walker set 
out to Chicago on one of the coldest days of that 
year. It was thirty miles to the first house. A 
brother, T. B. Clark, started with them, with an ox 
team laden with provisions to aid in sustaining the 
coming quarterly-meeting, for provisions were scarce 
in Chicago. The preachers reached the first house 
and put up for the night. They waited long for 
Clark and his ox team and set out on a fruitless 
search for him. He did not come up till midnight. 
The next day they all arrived safely in Chicago and 
met a warm reception from William See and wife. 
An ox team goes from Plainfield with provisions to 
sustain a quarterly-meeting in Chicago! Times 
have changed since then. 


The meeting commenced with interest and in- 
creased in power until its close. Sunday morning, 
after preaching at 10J A. M., Jesse Walker invited 
the little band around the sacramental board. It 
was a season long to be remembered, that first com- 
munion season in Chicago. All seemed to be bap- 
tized afresh for the great work that was to be ac- 
complished in what was destined to be a mighty 
city. Some of that band are still living in 1884. 

Brother Beggs had now been on his work seven 
weeks; at the close of the quarterly-meeting he set 
out for Holland's Grove to bring his wife to Chi- 
cago. There was a great thaw and the whole 
country was covered with water, and no bridges for 
his whole trip of one hundred and forty miles. 
One day, as he passed south, he left Ox Bow Prai- 
rie, near Magnolia, with two biscuits in his pocket, 
being thirty-five miles from home. He swam his 
horse across Sandy Creek, and coming to Crow 
Creek he set out to the eastward around its head- 
waters. Supposing he was around and across its 
largest branches, he came to the main branch. The 
ice was fast to the bottom and not stout enough to 
bear his horse. He started again up stream and 
traveled until out of sight of timber. It grew near 
sundown and he concluded to try crossing. When 
about half-way over his horse fell through the ice. 
Mr. Beggs jumped off, and gave his horse notice 
that he must not lie there. The horse gave a bound, 
and horse and horseman came out on the right side, 
but well drenched. The forlorn, yet happy preacher, 
emptied his boots, wrung out his leggins, and started 


on. It began to grow cold, and his overcoat was 
soon frozen ; worse than all, he knew not which way 
to steer. Traveling on, he soon saw timber in the 
distance, but ere he reached it, it grew dark and he 
was compelled to guess his way. Late in the even- 
ing he drew near a grove, where he found a farm 
with wheat stacks and a pile of straw. He searched 
long and found no house, but saw that a stream ran 
between him and the dwellings; this he did not 
venture to cross, and, returning to the stacks, he 
gave his horse a supper of wheat sheafs, and he 
himself crawled into the straw stacks. But wet and 
cold he could not sleep, and was compelled to crawl 
out and run about, finding that at this time, at least, 
"bodily exercise" was profitable. Brother Beggs 
spent the night in lying down and getting up — a 
most dreary and vexing night's pastime. In the 
morning he heard a man across the stream calling 
his hogs. Going to him he was informed that he 
was on Panther Creek, and that there was a bridge 
three miles up stream, and that by the time he had 
gone around breakfast would be ready. How much 
good it seemed to do the early settlers to give a 
stanger an invitation to their humble boards! After 
breakfast Brother Beggs asked the blessing of God 
upon the people and journeyed on. He swam his 
horse across Walnut Creek, " churned " through 
other heavy sloughs, and reached the home of his 
wife tired and cold. 

In a few days Mr. Beggs and wife packed up 
their few things, threw them on a sled, and set out 
for Chicago. The second day the snow left them, 


and arriving at the mouth of the Big Vermilion, 
nearly opposite La Salle, they found that river too 
deep to ford, and no boat near, and five miles back 
to a house. They were opposite Martin Reynolds, 
a good Methodist brother, whose wife was a sister 
to the Hitts. Mr. Reynolds went to the travelers' 
rescue. The horses were tied to the sled, and Mr. 
Beggs and wife went down stream to deep water, 
where there was a covering of soft ice, and taking 
the railings of the bed, Mrs. Beggs crossed on the 
ice by putting down one bed-rail and taking up 
another and putting it ahead as she passed on. 
They remained with Brother Reynolds about two 
weeks before they could get horses or goods over, 
living, in the mean time, on Western fare. There 
was no flour, but plenty of corn. This was manu- 
factured into meal in a mortar, the pestle of which 
was a stick with an iron wedge in the end, which 
process required a great deal of elbow power. 

Mr. Beggs was not idle all this time, however. 
He walked up to Ottawa and Hog Point on preach- 
ing tours, and found that " corn-bread and long 
walks were great things to give healthy digestion 
and a good appetite." After a time they moved 
their goods up to John Green's (now Dayton), on 
Fox River, and leaving them for the Winter, set 
out on horseback. There was by this time a solid 
sheet of ice all over the prairie. The streams were 
very full, and it was still raining frequently. At 
last, weary and cold, they arrived at Walker's 
Grove. There was no house to be obtained in Chi- 
cago, and, purchasing a claim at the Grove, Mr. 



Beggs left his wife there. He visited Chicago once 
or twice before the Indian war came on. In the 
interval William See and Mark Noble kept up the 
meetings. There was a watch-night meeting at the 
house of Mr. Noble, which Jesse Walker attended 
on the last day of 1831. This was the first watch- 
night in Chicago. In the Spring Brother Noble 
purchased a log house about half a mile south of 
the fort, on the lake shore, and, moving into it, im- 
mediately opened it for religious services. Meetings 
were held there a portion of each Sabbath until the 
Spring of 1833, with the exception of a Sabbath or 
two when there was most alarm from the Indians, 
at which times meetings were held in the fort. 
Brother Noble appears to have held meetings during 
the Winter of 1832, while Mr. Beggs was away. 
These early meetings, Colonel Hamilton says, had a 
happy effect upon all within their influence. Mrs. 
Hamilton contributed much to their interest, as she 
was a lady of great intelligence and devoted piety. 
Mark Noble was the principal speaker at all these 
meetings, and his exhortations were greatly blessed. 
He was a man of practical common sense and large 
experience, and was well fitted for a standard-bearer 
on the borders. The clusters of houses near the fort 
and at the Point were a half-mile apart, with a ferry 
between them. Consequently there were most of 
the time meetings at both places. Brother Noble 
was the chief leader on the lake shore, Brother See 
at the Point. The meetings at the Point were 
generally held at Wentworth's log tavern, where 
Brother Beggs boarded when in town. 


Thus we find things when the scattered settlers 
were aroused by the alarm of war. Two Indian 
tribes, Sacs and Foxes, had united their interests, 
and resided in villages along the Mississippi River. 
Black Hawk was a chief residing at a village on 
Rock River, near Rock Island. His story is that 
the Indian agent at St. Louis, getting a parcel of 
old chiefs drunk, purchased their lands from them, 
and when the government began to remove the tribe 
westward, Black Hawk headed a faction who refused 
to go. This party, led by the chief who has given 
name to the war, commenced the savage work of 
putting the settlers to death, being determined to 
annihilate them from the land. Confusion swept 
over the country. The people from all parts, those 
at Walker's Grove among the rest, hurried to Fort 
Dearborn. There hundreds of helpless people were 
huddled together. Brother Beggs and wife, reach- 
ing the fort, were crowded into a room with three 
other families. While in this crowded position 
their first child was born. This was a daughter, 
who afterwards died. Thirteen or fourteen children 
were born in the fort in a short time. " You may 
be sure," says Brother Biggs, "we had music in- 
door and out." 

Sunday mornings the officers called up their men 
in regular order, and Brother Beggs stood on a stoop 
and preached to them. There were several hundred 
soldiers and citizens present at these services. In 
a few weeks the inhabitants of Walker's Grove re- 
turned to their homes, having procured fifty soldiers 
to be stationed there. Mr. Beggs and wife remained 


in Chicago, and before Mrs. Beggs was able to leave 
the room, a new officer came on and ordered all the 
citizens out of the garrison, to make way for the 
regulars. Brother Beggs pleaded in vain to remain. 
Colonel R. J. Hamilton offered him one of his 
rooms, into which they moved. The whole three 
were taken sick, and it seemed they would all die 
together. They proposed to return to Walker's 
Grove, and, crowding into a buggy, they traveled 
the distance unharmed. Being still feeble in health, 
the family set out for Mrs. Beggs's father's, at Hol- 
land Grove, and this was the end of Brother Beggs's 
labors at Chicago. Mark Noble and William See 
were left to look after the interests of the few 
Methodists in the disturbed town. In this connec- 
tion, since it is a part of the history of Chicago 
Methodism, it may be well to say that the crowd- 
ing to the fort brought other preachers there than 
S. R. Beggs. Among the little band who went in 
from near Naperville was Isaac Scarritt. This 
company reached Chicago on Saturday night. Sun- 
day morning Mr. Scarritt was requested to preach 
at a given hour ; but in the hasty flight the preacher 
had neglected to bring any decent clothing, and was 
even shoeless, he having come barefoot to make his 
speed the greater. Such was the scare, and not 
without reason, that was on the people ; for the In- 
dians sacked the houses of settlers all along Fox 
River, murdering a few and taking others prisoners. 
But what was our bootless preacher to do? It 
would never do to preach in such a plight as he 
found himself in. There were shoes at the store; 


but the preacher did not wish to trade on Sunday. 
At length he went into Mr. Dole's store, and bor- 
rowed a pair of shoes, promising to make all right 
the next day. The new shoes added their shining 
gloss to the respectability of the meeting. Mr. 
Scarritt preached frequently to the people while in 
the fort. Sometimes taking his stand at night on 
the portico of the barracks, he would preach so as 
to be heard all over the encampment, where good 
order and harmony prevailed. 

These gatherings at the fort took place in the 
"Spring of 1832, probably in April. The company 
from Walker's Grove arrived in May, after having 
forted a few days in Brother Beggs's house. 




AT the conference held at Jacksonville in 1832 
Jesse Walker was again appointed to Chicago 
Mission. The war being over, settlers began to 
pour in ; and at this date the history of the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church in Chicago properly begins. 
Many men had volunteered in the southern part of 
the State to go north as soldiers in the Black Hawk 
Avar, and these, getting a view of the charms of 
Northern Illinois, created a new enterprise among 
the Egyptians, and settlers began to come into the 
country around Chicago more than ever ; and from 
this time Rock River Conference circuits began to 
have limits and a permanent existence. From this 
year on there has never ceased to be a growing 
Methodism in all portions of the conference. 

Jesse Walker, as we have seen, moved from 
Walker's Grove to Chicago as soon as possible, and 
set to work. Brother Beggs visited him in the 
Fall, and found him living in the old log house in 
which he had preached and formed the first class in 
1831. The house was also used as a meeting-place. 
Brother Beggs and wife had gone up to attend the 
first quarterly-meeting for the year, and the com- 
pany dined together. Long rides saved them from 


dyspepsia. Napkins and silver forks were missing ; 
but silver-heartedness prevailed. Such was the 
preacher's abode in 1832. Wabash Avenue parson- 
age was not yet built. 

It was so soon after the war there was little 
chance to do much, and during the year there was 
no increase of members, so that but ten members 
were reported in 1833. In the Spring of 1833, 
the Noble and Wentworth families left the place, 
settling on the North Branch, and but few other 
Methodists moved in. 

Jesse Walker was returned to Chicago in 1833, 
with John Sinclair as presiding elder. During the 
Summer the town grew rapidly. Attention was 
being called to the place all over the land. At the 
time when Mr. Walker commenced his second year's 
labors, the main citizens of the place were as below. 
The names are found in a list of persons who voted 
for town trustees in August, 1833: 

E. S. Kimberly, William Ninson, Hiram Pear- 
son, Philo Carpenter, George Chapman, John 
Wright, John T. Temple, Matthias Smith, David 
Caron, James Kinzie, Charles Taylor, John S. C. 
Hogan, E. A. Rider, D. J. Hapgood, George W. 
Snow, Madore Beaubien, G. Kercheval, George W. 
Dole, Rich. J. Hamilton, S. F. Gale, E. Darling, 
Wm. H. Adams, C. A. Ballard, John Watkins, and 
James Gilbert. The trustees of the town, and the 
first ever elected, were T. J. V. Owen, George W. 
Dole, Madore Beaubien, John Miller, and E. S. 

In the Chicago Democrat, December, 1833, the 


following persons not named above had advertise- 
ments: S. B. Cobb, Walter Kimball, P. F. W. 
Peck, R. M. Sweet, A. Clybourne, John Bates, 
Benj. Jones, Star Foot, C. Harmon, John H. Kin- 
zie, S. D. Pierce, and Gurdon S. Hubbard. 

The first quarterly-meeting of this second year 
was held in the Fall of 1833, at the "Watkins 
school-house. This building, which was now some- 
times used by the Methodists, stood between La 
Salle and Clark Streets, on north side of old North 
Water Street. There were present John Sinclair, 
presiding elder; Jesse Walker, circuit preacher; 
William See and Henry Whitehead, local preachers ; 
Sister See, Charles Wissencraft and wife, Mrs. R. J. 
Hamilton, and Mrs. Caroline Harmon. These consti- 
tuted the entire Methodist family of that time. In 
the Spring Charles Wissencraft became leader. This 
is generally cited as the first organization of a Meth- 
odist society. There certainly was a regular class 
in 1831; but during the troublous times of the Sac 
war, and on account of the departure of the main 
portions of the class, in the Summer of 1833, the 
class became very small. But newcomers in the 
Fall of 1833 gave permanent strength. 

The first Presbyterian Church of twenty mem- 
bers was organized June 26, 1833, and the Baptist 
Church, consisting of fourteen members, October 
19, 1833. 

During the Spring and Summer of 1834 the first 
building that may be called a Methodist church was 
put up. It was commenced and carried to comple- 
tion by the enterprise of its builders, Henry White- 


head and Stewart. It was erected on the 

North Side, where, as we have seen, it was supposed 
the main part of the town would be, on the corner 
of Water and Clark Streets. Though small, it was 
to the little band a temple indeed. The pulpit, as 
soon as it was completed, was occupied by Brother 
Walker and his local preachers. 

During this year Henry Whitehead and Charles 
Wissencraft held weekly prayer-meetings in the fort 
for the benefit of the soldiers, quite a number of 
whom had been converted under the labors of John 
Clark and Mr. Whitehead at Sault Ste. Marie. 

Brother James Rockwell arrived in Chicago in 
1834, while Jesse Walker was still preaching in 
the "log church" at the "Point." A Sunday- 
school was organized, and Mr. Rockwell was ap- 
pointed superintendent. He induced the children 
of a half-breed, Robinson by name, and other In- 
dian children to attend his school, so that he had 
quite a class. The Indians were Catholics, but he 
succeeded in interesting them. James Rockwell 
continued working, chiefly as leader of singing in 
the Methodist Sunday-school, until 1838, when he 
moved to Batavia. He returned to Chicago in 
1844, and remained about a year, getting up much 
interest in the Sunday-school by the pleasant man- 
ner in which he conducted the singing. The school 
mentioned above is the first Chicago Methodist 
Sunday-school. A union school had been organized 
in 1833, which in 1834 became the Presbyterian 
school. At one time it was held in Walker's log 
church. This school of Rockwell's was the second 


in town. Jesse Walker reported, at the end of this 
year, twenty-five members. Then the old pioneer 
laid aside his armor, and took a superannuated re- 
lation, and settled on the Desplaines, twelve miles 
nearly west of Chicago, where, a year after closing 
his work in Chicago, he died in peace. During that 
year he was frequently in town, preaching occasion- 
ally in the new church. 

The conference of 1834 sent John T. Mitchell to 
Chicago. This was, no doubt, one of the most ap- 
propriate appointments that could have been made. 
He was then a young man but twenty-four years of 
age, entering upon his fourth appointment in the 
conference, and giving promise of the noble man- 
hood he afterwards attained unto. He had been 
the two years previous at Galena. 

It was during this Summer (1834) that one hun- 
dred immigrants arrived at Chicago in ten days, 
and, according to one account, steamboats came 
around the lakes from Buffalo for the first time ; 
and also it was this Summer the first vessel was 
enabled to enter the river, and one hundred and fifty 
vessels discharged cargoes at the port. The whole 
number of votes cast in Cook County, which in- 
cluded Will and Dupage, was five hundred and 
twenty-eight. It was after the arrival of Mr. 
Mitchell that one bear and forty prairie wolves 
were killed in one day in the timber extending 
from the Forks on the East Side of the river up 
to Bridgeport. 

The new preacher found the Methodists worship- 
ing in their little church, not more than twenty- 


four by thirty-eight, with a band, when all were 
counted, of twenty-five members to aid him in his 
work, and an excellent little Sunday-school in oper- 
ation. He reached the place in September, and 
entered upon his work with zeal, hunting up the 
scattered sheep, and bringing into order the work- 
ings of the Church. Jesse Walker was a gatherer 
and founder, John T. Mitchell was a builder and 

His ministerial neighbors were scarce and far 
away. During the Winter of 1835 he received a 
visit from the nearest Methodist preacher at the 
North. This visitor was John Clark, who was la- 
boring among the Indians at Green Bay. He had 
gone on a trip to Mackinaw, and being belated the 
lakes froze over, and he must remain until Spring, 
or else go on horseback by way of Detroit and Chi- 
cago. He purchased a pony and set out on his 
route of over six hundred miles. We quote from 
Clark's report: "Friday, January 2, 1835. Wind 
high from the south, with squalls of snow; stopped 
every ten miles to warm, and at night fell four miles 
short of Chicago. Came into the place next morn- 
ing and found a home with J. T. Mitchell, the mis- 
sionary for that station. Chicago must soon become 
a place of much importance in trade and business. 

"Sunday, January 11. Presented the subject of 
Indian missions, and took a collection of twenty 
dollars for the good cause. Of this amount a good 
lady contributed a sovereign ($5.00). May she re- 
ceive of gold ' tried in the fire.' 

"Monday, January 12. Mr. Bruce, of Cleveland, 


by extra effort arrived so as to secure my company 
to Green Bay. We left at four P. M., and came 
twelve miles to Grosse Point (now Evanston), on the 
west side of the lake. Our landlord is a Canadian 
Frenchman, and was for many years a fur trader on 
the Columbia Kiver. We slept before a large fire 
on the floor, and left at four A. M., feeling our way 
slowly along the path for twelve miles. By one 
o'clock we made thirty miles, when we halted by a 
spring, called by the French Belle Fontaine. We 
kindled a fire by a log, which served as a table. 
While we and our beasts were appeasing our hunger 
the horse of my friend suddenly started off on a 
smart trot; mine followed, and in ten minutes both 
were out of sight. I seized my pocket compass and 
we started in pursuit, but soon lost their tracks and 
returned to our camp. Here we were with no house 
ahead for twenty -two miles, and none in the rear 
short of thirty. By this time two men came up in 
a single wagon, one of whom I hired to go back 
with my friend ten or twelve miles in search of our 
beasts, while the other should stay with me over 
night. At eight o'clock next morning they returned, 
but no horses could be found." 

Bruce went in search of the horses, leaving Mr. 
Clark in solitude. Clark spent several hours in 
search of the horses, and returned to camp to find 
a wolf in possession. The wolf left, and Mr. Clark, 
building a good fire, prepared for the night. At 
dusk the wolf returned, and coming within a hun- 
dred feet of where Mr. Clark lay, discovered him in 
possession and retired a little back. " I soon lay 


down and slept," says Mr. Clark, " waking at inter- 
vals to revive my fire, and each time the wolf stood 
within pistol shot, but as I had no fire-arms he was 
safe. The night was windy, with some rain, and at 
day dawn, on Thursday, January 15th, it snowed 
very freely." 

At two o'clock on this day Mr. Bruce returned 
in a two-horse wagon, bound for Chicago. They 
put all on board and made their way back, arriving 
at Grosse Point at ten at night. The next day 
they went on to Chicago, where they found their 
horses, which had been taken up four miles from 
town. The week being so far spent they concluded 
to tarry over Sunday. Brother Clark preached 
morning and evening. He says : " In the afternoon 
I heard a good warm sermon from that venerable 
pioneer of the West, Jesse Walker, who is super- 
annuated and settled on a farm twelve miles west 
from Chicago." 

On Monday, January 19th, they left again for 
the North, and made their way safely to Green Bay, 
and thus ended this most welcome visit of John 
Clark to John T. Mitchell, the lonely Chicago 
preacher. This was probably Mr. Clark's first visit 
to the city which afterwards became the scene of 
his most arduous labors and most cheerful successes. 

There were several additions to the Church this 
year, as emigrants began to come in briskly, and 
Brother Mitchell was enabled to report at confer- 
ence, in 1835, sixty-nine members, among whom 
was one negro. 




WHEN Jesse Walker was first appointed to 
Chicago Mission in 1830 the work embraced 
all the country from Chicago to Magnolia. In 1831 
it was thought best to set off Chicago into a charge 
by itself. All the remaining territory was left in 
one circuit, called De Plain — we suppose after the 
Des Plaines River. S. R. Beggs went to Chicago, 
and Jesse Walker continued on the Des Plaines 
portion. The appointments for the year were at 
Yankee Settlement, a few miles east of Lockport; 
at Hawley's, four miles south-east of Naperville ; at 
the forks of the Dupage, the neighborhood where 
Isaac Scarritt had settled; Walker's Grove (now 
Plainfield) ; Ottawa, where there was a small village 
on the south side of Illinois River; Ox Bow, a 
settlement near Magnolia in Putnam County; on 
Sandy Creek, south of Magnolia, and at Cedar Point, 
a settlement five miles south of Peru. 

Mr. Walker resided at the time at Walker's 
Grove. His work was prosecuted but six months 
when the Black Hawk war broke out, and as the 
country included in his circuit was the principal 
theater of the outbreak, most of his year's work is 
enveloped in the history of the war. The people 


were scattered like sheep before wolves, and little 
was done during the year. Thirty-four members 
were reported at conference. 

At the conference held at Jacksonville, Septem- 
ber, 1832, Jesse Walker was removed to Chicago 
and S. R. Beggs sent to Des Plaines Mission. 
Brother Beggs, who lived at Walker's Grove, found 
a four weeks' circuit to be supplied. The appoint- 
ments were at Walker's Grove ; Yankee Settlement ; 
Hickory Creek, at Aaron Moore's, three miles south- 
east of Joliet; Jackson's Grove, six miles south of 
Joliet ; Reed's Grove, three miles south of Jackson's 
Grove ; Naper's Grove ; Hawley's, at forks of Du- 
page ; Daniel Pierce's (now Oswego) ; Holderman's 
Grove; Falls of Fox River, at J. Green's (now 
Dayton), six miles above Ottawa; Ottawa, at Sister 
Pembroke's ; Martin Reynolds's, over the Illinois 
River, south of Lasalle ; Ausable Grove, and Batch- 
dor's Grove, twenty miles south-west of Chicago. 
All the preaching places were private houses. Most 
of these appointments were established in the Spring 
of 1833. Speculation began to run high, and the 
preacher "could hardly get a sinner to stand or sit 
long enough to hear a Gospel sermon, yet he would 
follow them to their houses, and converse with 
them on the high way, and by the blessing of God 
some were converted." 

When Mr. Beggs first went to Jackson's Grove 
to preach he asked if there was any one who would 
open his house for preaching. The neighbors 
were called together, and a council held on the part 
of the people to decide as to the propriety of the 


Gospel being introduced to disturb their quiet, as 
nothing of the kind had been introduced up to that 
time. The result of the deliberation was favorable. 
It was concluded the preacher could do them no 
harm, as they were all so united their " craft " was 
in no danger. When a door was opened the preacher 
"went at them in the name of the Lord," but it 
was for a time doubtful which way the battle would 
turn; yet the " fire was kept up" until a camp- 
meeting was held at Reed's Grove. The camp- 
meeting commenced and continued for three days 
before much of a move was made; then the "hosts 
of Israel raised the shout of victory, and you may 
depend upon it there was slaughter among the Phil- 
istines." There were but three persons present that 
did not profess religion, and they were forward for 

In the Fall of 1832, before conference, Brother 
Beggs was passing through the country, and put up 
for the night at Captain Naper's. The captain was 
kind, but when the preacher proposed prayer Mr. 
Naper remarked that he had no objection to others 
praying as much as they liked, but he had never 
had prayer in his house and did not now wish to 
swerve from his usual course. He had his opinions 
about the matter and allowed others to have theirs- 
Brother Beggs was content to say his own prayers 
in silence by his bedside. The next day, which 
was Sunday, Mr. Beggs preached in a private house 
to twenty hearers. The preaching place was half a 
mile to the north-west of Naperville. This is sup- 
posed to be the first sermon in that neighborhood. 


At the close of the year, at the conference which 
met at Union Grove, St. Clair County, in 1833, 
fifty-seven members were reported from this mis- 
sion, and Brother Beggs was reappointed to the 

This year the tide of speculation rose higher than 
ever ; it seemed as it most of the people " were bent 
on making their fortunes if they lost their souls." 
Yet the preacher's labors were not altogether in 
vain. The last quarterly-meeting of the year was 
held in connection with a camp-meeting near 
^Valker's Mill, one and a half miles from where 
Plainfield now stands. It was a time of refreshing 
to believers, and many sinners were converted to 

This was the first year John Sinclair was on the 
Chicago District. Mr. Beggs accompanied him to 
his quarterly-meeting at Galena, and on their return 
they held a very fine camp-meeting near Princeton. 

Another camp-meeting was held at Hickory 
Creek, where there " was a glorious time." The 
year was a prosperous one, and as a token of this 
one hundred and seventeen members, twelve preach- 
ing places, and two Sunday-schools were reported 
in 1834. Brother Beggs had received $51.50 as 
quarterage. Be it known that this was the receipts 
on a claim of $200.00 "quarterage" and did not 
include table expenses, which were not reported to 

At the conference held at Mt. Carmel in October, 
1834, David Blackwell was appointed to Des 
Plaines Mission. This brother, the son of a min- 


ister, and the brother of one or two other ministers, 
one of whom, H. C. Blackwell, died in 1859, being 
a member of Rock River Conference, was born 
in Madison County, Kentucky, in April, 1805, and 
was accordingly about thirty years of age at the 
time of his appointment to Des Plaines. He came 
to Southern Illinois in 1829, and was converted 
and joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1830, 
in the bounds of the Kaskaskia Circuit. He was 
licensed to exhort in 1833, and traveled a circuit a 
portion of the same year. Traveling in the employ 
of the elder until the conference of 1834 he was 
admitted to the Illinois Conference and sent, as we 
have seen, to Des Plaines. The next year he was 
reappointed, but on account of sickness did not at- 
tend to his work. In 1836 he professed the bless- 
ing of perfect love, and after the old sort enjoyed 
this fullness until death. While at Alton in 1838 
many souls were converted. In 1839, while on 
the Lacon Circuit, he married Lucinda Watkins. 
In 1844 he was appointed to Mt. Vernon, and while 
on that charge preached his last sermon, August 5, 
1845. From this time until July 7, 1848, he lin- 
gered along nearing the grave; at the date just 
given he ceased to surfer and to live on earth. His 
end was like that of all the faithful. "I'm going 
this time," he said to his mother-in-law; and clap- 
ping his hands, exclaimed, " I am going to Jesus." 
" Precious Jesus ! " were the last words he uttered, 
and with the name of his Savior on his lips he took 
his departure from all on earth to enter the pearly 
gates left ajar for all such to enter. 


He was a preacher of more than ordinary talent 
and usefulness, though a man of much severe afflic- 
tion. " He was a fine young man," says one of his 
compeers, "and much loved." 

At the time David Blackwell was appointed to 
Des Plaines Mission it embraced all the territory 
east of Fox River, from Plainfield to Naperville, 
and south to Reed's Grove, and all the settlements 
east of this line. He organized the first class in 
Joliet. At the last quarterly-meeting of the year 
held at Mr. Zarley's, on Spring Creek, September 
-6, 1835, a committee was appointed to secure a lot 
in "the town of Juliet," which town was laid out 
a year before. At the conference of 1835 one hun- 
dred and sixty members were reported from the 
Des Plaines work. 

In 1833 the Des Plaines Mission was divided, 
and that portion of the country lying along Fox 
River, north of Ottawa, was called Ottawa Mission, 
and William Royal appointed to the work. This 
brother was born in 1796, February 24th, near Win- 
chester, Virginia, and moved to Ohio with his 
father's family when a boy. In June, 1827, he 
came to Illinois and settled seven miles from Spring- 
field, where he plied his trade of potter. In 1830 
he was employed with A. E. Phelps on Salt Creek 
Circuit. In 1831 he was admitted to the Illinois 
Conference, and appointed to Fort Clark (Peoria) 
Mission. This work extended to Ottawa on the 
Illinois River, and required hard travel and hard 
labor. He received during the year the extrava- 
gant amount of eighteen and three-fourths cents in 


cash ; he received other support, but it came in pro- 
visions. In 1832 he was on Bloomington Circuit; 
in 1833 on Ottawa, and in 1835 on Fox River 
Mission. During the year 1836 he explored the 
country between Fox and Rock Rivers, and went 
over the trackless prairies and bridgeless streams 
establishing appointments and organizing classes at 
places that have since become Marengo, Rockford, 
Belvidere, and other towns. His last appointment 
in this country was Newark Circuit, to which he 
was appointed in 1848. In 1849 he took a super- 
annuated relation, and in 1853 went across the plains 
to Oregon with his son Fletcher. In Oregon he 
did effective work, being engaged for some time as 
a kind of sailors' missionary at Portland, Oregon. 
He died some years ago. 

The appointments on Ottawa Mission extended 
from Dayton, six miles above Ottawa, to Sandy 
Creek, in Putnam County, where William Royal's 
family lived, and to Princeton, on the west. He 
had many a long Winter ride to reach his northern 
appointments. One hundred and sixty-eight mem- 
bers were reported at the end of the year ; but most 
of the societies were south of the Rock River 
Conference bounds. 

Brother Royal was returned to the work in 1834, 
which remained about the same as the year before. 
Toward the close of the year a glorious camp-meet- 
ing was held at Sulphur Springs, on Fox River, 
above Ottawa, attended with great power. Among 
the most surprising things, for that day especially, 
was the taking up of a hat collection amounting to 


one hundred and sixty-eight dollars. A local 
preacher by the name of Gunn threw in one hun- 
dred dollars of this in the shape of two fifty-dollar 
bills. The preacher lived through the infliction ! 
A neat frame church was erected at Ottawa about 
the year 1847. 

A new circuit appeared in 1834, Bureau by 
name, formed from the northern portion of what, 
two years before, had been the Peoria Mission. 
The main appointments were on Bureau River, in 
the vicinity of what afterwards became Princeton. 
S. R. Beggs was appointed to the work. 

At the conference of 1832 Zadoc Hall was given 
the task of going up the west side of the Illinois 
River, above Peoria, to explore the country and his 
circuit, called Peoria Mission. He set out estab- 
lishing appointments and organizing classes. The 
appointments in the bounds of the present Rock 
River Conference, and those that made the Bureau 
Circuit in 1834, were at Mr. Smith's, north of 
Princeton, on Bureau River, where the people were 
principally Presbyterians, so that there was no class ; 
at Troy Grove, at Brother Johnson's, on the east 
side of the Grove, where there was a class, the 
members being John Johnson, leader and steward, 
and his wife, Hiram Barnhart, and Sister Wickson ; 
at John Long's, on the bank of the Little Vermil- 
ion, below the bluff, near La Salle, where there was 
a class, whose members were John Long, Eleanor 
Long, Margaret Long, and Sister Hays ; at Miller's, 
six miles below Peru, where Brother Miller and wife 
and some of their children, Brother and Sister Scott 


and their children, were members ; at John Hall's, 
on Little Bureau, where there were fifteen members, 
with John Hall as leader. John Hall's wife and 
daughter, Edward Hall, a local elder, and wife were 
among the other members. At Abraham Jones's, 
two miles west of Princeton, the members were 
James Hays, Betsy Hays, Abraham Jones, Polly 
Jones, Eliza Epperson, Burton and Susannah Jones, 
Robert Clark and wife, and Sister Smith. This 
class was afterwards removed to Princeton, and is 
the beginning of that pleasant charge. The preach- 
er's work in 1833, when in the northern part of 
this circuit, was somewhat like this : On Thursday, 
travel twenty-five miles to Troy Grove, preach, and 
lead class ; Friday, go to John Long's, preach, and 
lead class ; Saturday, Brother Miller's ; Sunday at 
eleven, preach at Brother Hall's ; in the afternoon, 
preach at Jones's ; on Monday, return home by way 
of Hennepin and Magnolia, making in all three 
hundred miles' ride around the mission. During 
the year Brother Hall traveled about six thousand 
miles, and reported seventy-two members at confer- 
ence. His belief is that he preached the first ser- 
mons at Abraham Jones's, Troy Grove, John Long's, 
and Miller's, and formed the first class at all the ap- 
pointments named in the above list. Princeton was 
laid out in the Winter of 1833, so we observe that 
a class was formed about a year before the town 
was begun. 

The Edward Hall mentioned above was grand- 
father of Libbie and Rachel Hall, the two young 
women taken prisoners by the Indians at Indian 


Creek, in 1832. He was one of the best of local 
preachers, plain, pointed, and a good member. He 
was a soldier of the Revolution, and fought in sev- 
eral battles in the army of the South, and, although 
in the service nearly the whole of the seven years 
of the war, he never saw General Washington. He 
was with General Marion principally, fighting tories. 
He was once taken prisoner by the English ; but 
one night, while marching and riding his own horse, 
when it was very dark, he reined his horse so that 
he would march out of line, and halted. The horse 
stood perfectly quiet until the whole company passed 
Tsy; then taking the back track, he soon arrived at 
home, and in a short time joined his comrades in 
the army. He remained thereafter in the ranks 
until the close of the war. 

In 1833 the northern part of Peoria Mission was 
attached to OttaAva Mission, on which charge Will- 
iam Royal was preacher. He had been Abraham 
Jones's preacher further south, and in seeking his 
way around his new charge in 1833, Brother Royal 
became belated one night, and found his way to 
Jones's by the crowing of the fowls. Mr. Jones's 
log house was unfinished — roof of slabs, puncheon 
floor; windows and doors there were none. Brother 
Royal pulled aside the quilt which served as a door, 
and seeing who was within, exclaimed, " Well, I 
guess I am at home at last !" He found a ready 

In 1834 the country around Princeton was made 
to constitute Bureau Mission, S. R. Beggs, preacher. 
The appointments were at Boston settlement (near 


Earl) ; Pawpaw Grove, at the house of Benjamin 
Harris ; Mulugin Grove ; three appointments from 
the head timbers of Bureau Creek to Abraham 
Jones's ; West Bureau ; Indiantown (Tiskilwa) ; 
John Hall's ; Brother Scott's ; John Long's, near 
La Salle ; Judge Strawn's, five miles below Ottawa ; 
and Troy Grove. There was a good work during 
the year. Mr. Beggs held, as was his custom, a 
number of two-days' meetings, and " a most sweep- 
ing one " at Brother Scott's, at the winding up of 
the year's labors. One hundred members were re- 
turned in 1835, and a collection of seventy dollars 
for the mission cause reported. 



GALENA FROM 1830 TO 1835. 

LET us return to Galena, and resume the narra- 
tive from the point where we left it at the 
conference in 1839. At this conference Smith L. 
Ilobinson was appointed to the work, and in 1831 
reappointed. During these years the Methodist 
meetings were usually held in an upper story of Mr. 
Waddle's house, situated on Main Street, having an 
entrance from Bench Street. Be it known to all who 
have never seen Galena, that most romantically sit- 
uated town in Illinois, that the streets lie one above 
another like terraces, so that in entering a door on 
Bench Street, you will find yourself in the third 
story of a building fronting on Main Street. This 
house of Mr. Waddle's stood not far from the pres- 
ent Methodist church. They also frequently wor- 
shiped in Mr. Kent's Presbyterian church, when 
Mr. Kent was not using it. 

The Presbyterian Sunday-school in the Summer 
of 1830 numbered from sixty to ninety scholars, 
with a library of seventy-five volumes. Although 
Mr. Kent arrived in the Spring of 1829, a Presby- 
terian society was not organized until October 23, 
1831. It consisted, at the time of organization, of 

six members. Some weeks before, the Methodist 



preacher had reported seventy-five members from 
Galena and the regions around. 

The Sabbath after the organization of the Pres- 
byterian Church the Lord's-supper was adminis- 
tered, Mr. Kent being assisted by Reeves Carmack, 
the Methodist local preacher, and S. L. Robinson, 
the preacher on Galena Mission. An historical no- 
tice of that Church says : " The Rev. Mr. Robinson 
adverted in his remarks very happily to the circum- 
stance that it was the first sacrametal occasion ever 
enjoyed in this district of country for a distance of 
several hundred miles." The sacrament was admin- 
istered at a quarterly-meeting in Chicago in Jan- 
uary, 1832, the first known in the eastern part of 
the State ; so this at Galena was probably really the 
first in the " upper country." 

In 1831 Mr. Robinson reported seventy-five 
members; in 1832, but twenty-two. These two 
years at Galena were all he ever traveled in the 
Rock River Conference bounds. He was born in 
1806 in Kentucky, a State that furnished us so 
many of our earliest and best ministers. The Meth- 
odist Church has drawn from thence some of her 
most eloquent and useful men. Mr. Robinson's 
parents were Presbyterians, who early immigrated to 
Southern Illinois. He experienced religion when 
nineteen years of age, and joining the Methodist 
Episcopal Church was within a year received into 
the traveling connection in the Illinois Conference, 
and appointed to Paoli, in Indiana. The next year 
(1827) he was appointed to Peoria; in 1828, to 
Kaskaskia; 1829, to Sangamon; 1830, to Galena; 


1832, to Lebanon; 1833, agent of Lebanon Sem- 
inary; 1834, to Jacksonville. In 1835 he was 
transferred to the Indiana Conference and stationed 
at Terre Haute, where he labored with great accept- 
ability and usefulness. He attended conference at 
Indianapolis in 1836, when he was placed in a su- 
perannuated relation. A few days after the session 
he died, in hope of admittance, through the Savior, 
within the gates of the heavenly city, and was buried 
by the side of John Strange. He could not speak 
during his dying hours, but gave signs that all was 

John T. Mitchell first appeared in the bounds of 
the conference in 1832 when he was stationed in 
Galena. He had been a member of conference a 
year, and was but twenty-two years of age. Let 
not the old men complain if the young men do 
enter our fields. The history of the Church has 
ever shown that her most hardy pioneers have been 
the young men. John T. Mitchell was presiding 
elder at thirty. He found at Galena in 1832 about 
one hundred and sixty buildings and a population 
of one thousand, the place being in advance of 
Chicago by several years. The appointments of the 
circuit, for it was such, were at Blue Mound ; Platt- 
ville, where Mr. Mitchell's father settled previous 
to 1840; Mineral Point; Galena, and Dodgeville. 
The preacher resided in Galena. 

In the Summer of 1833 a lot was purchased, 
and the foundations laid for a Methodist church. 
The lot was the same occupied by the old Methodist 
church of 1854. It was bought from John Atchi- 


son. The original "quitclaim" deed was in Ga- 
lena in 1861. It contained the names of the first 
board of trustees, which were Leonard Ross, Will- 
iam A. Jordan, George W. Campbell, and John 
Oliver. The work of building commenced, and aided 
by citizens of all classes a plain frame church twenty- 
six by forty feet was erected. It was surmounted 
by a neat cupola, in which a bell was soon placed, 
three hundred pounds in weight. No basement, 
no curtains, no carpets, seats movable, in all things 
it was a plain house. The new church was dedi- 
cated at a quarterly-meeting by John Sinclair, pre- 
siding elder of the Chicago District, and as he came 
on the district in the Fall of 1833 the dedication 
was probably late in that year. Having a church, 
a Sunday-school was organized by Brother Mitchell, 
and William A. Jordan appointed superintendent. 

It will be seen by reference to former pages that 
the Methodist church in Chicago was not built 
until a year after, and this was accordingly the first 
regular church in the conference bounds. Mr. 
Mitchell on leaving Galena in 1834 for Chicago 
left one of the only two Methodist churches in our 
bounds and went to the other. These two churches, 
standing at the antipodes of the country, were 
nearly of a size and make. The last relics of the 
Chicago church disappeared from Dearborn Street 
in the Summer of 1864; the Galena church was 
burned down in 1838. 

During this year Brother Mitchell's nearest 
neighbor east was the preacher at Chicago, and at 
the north John Clark at Green Bay, and on the 

GALENA. 101 

south far below Rock Island. From his large cir- 
cuit the pastor reported in 1833 forty-eight mem- 

In 1833 the mission was called Galena and 
"DeBuke,"with Barton Handle and J. T. Mitchell 
preachers. Mr. Mitchell resided at Galena, and had 
the charge principally of that portion of the work. 
The mission thus united reported one hundred and 
twenty-eight members at conference. In May, 
1834, Barton Randle organized a class at Dubuque. 

In 1834 the Galena District was constituted, and 
Hooper Crews appointed to Galena, and also pre- 
siding elder of the district. 

In September, 1834, during the session of the 
Kentucky Conference, Mr. Crews, then a young man 
about twenty-eight years old, came up from Ken- 
tucky to Illinois on a visit to some friends. While 
in the neighborhood of Mt. Carmel, the Illinois 
Conference met there and Brother Crews attended 
the sessions. Bishop Roberts presided, and mani- 
fested much earnestness in his persuasions to induce 
Brother Crews to go to Galena. He was then a 
single man, and had just been appointed to Cyn- 
thiana Station, Kentucky. Bishop Roberts agreed 
to take the responsibility, remarking that, " episco- 
pacy is equal to episcopacy the world over." After 
a night of reflection Brother Crews consented to go. 
He set out at once, and as was the universal custom 
in those days, traveled on horseback. He passed 
through Lawrenceville, Shelbyville, Springfield, 
Lewiston, Canton, Knoxville, and Rock Island, on 
to Galena, a lonely route in that day. He had 


charge of four circuits besides Galena, which he 
served as pastor. Iowa Mission was in Wisconsin, 
and took its name from Iowa County. It included 
all the mines then worked in Wisconsin Territory. 
Lorenzo Bevans was in charge. The Dubuque 
Mission included all the mines west of the Mis- 
sissippi River. Rock Island embraced all the settle- 
ments around old Fort Armstrong on both sides of 
the river. 

Brother Crews reached this world of work in 
the month of October, and arrived in Galena a new 
pastor of a new Church. In old files of the Galena 
Advertiser, at the time Mr. Crews appeared, we have 
descriptions of Galena. " The houses are of wood, 
save two, and are built principally on two streets, 
called Lower and Bench Streets. There are about 
fifteen stores and about the same number of gro- 
ceries (or groggeries), and all appear to do well. 
Three clergymen reside here, Presbyterian, Metho- 
dist, and Episcopal — industrious and pious men." 
Another article gives an account of a Sunday-school 
celebration on the 4th of July, 1835. The schools 
met at the Presbyterian Church, where prayer was 
offered by Rev. Mr. Kent, the Declaration read by 
Dr. H. Newhall, and an oration delivered by the 
Rev. Mr. Tullige, the Episcopal minister. 

The Advertiser for August, 1835, says: "There 
are in Galena twenty places where ardent spirits 
are sold — retailed by the glass every day in the 
week, Sabbaths not excepted. One-half of our 
merchants transact more or less business on the 
Sabbath. There are more gambling houses than 

GALENA. 103 

places of worship, and twenty or thirty professed 
gamblers residing in the city." This is a sad pic- 
ture, but Chicago was not behind in this sort of 
sad notoriety. The number of inhabitants remained 
at one thousand, and as new mines were being opened 
in new parts the settlers were shifting and transient. 

On arriving at Galena in October, 1834 Brother 
Crews found Aratus Kent on the ground with a 
small congregation. The two preachers made ar- 
rangements whereby they would not both be absent 
from town on the same Sabbath. Galena was at 
this time the second town in size in the State, Alton 
being the first. 

In a short time there came a company of young 
men, who organized a Thespian Society, which was 
really a theater. In those days there were very few 
women in town, but many young men. These the- 
atrical performances had a very bad effect, and Mr. 
Crews determined to attack them. The next Sab- 
bath he opened his batteries, and a struggle followed. 
Monday morning he went to the post-office and met 
Dr. Graw. He immediately said : " Mr. Crews, I 
had made up my mind to cane you, and if I had 
met you yesterday I should have done it." 

Mr. Crews replied: "I doubt it very much." 

Dr. Graw looked very much surprised, and said : 
"You don't mean to intimate that you would not 
have submitted?" 

"You will never cane me unless I fail to cane 
you," Crews replied. 

" You have more pluck than I thought you had," 
Dr. Graw rejoined. 


" I have preached nothing but truth," said Crews. 
"Convince me that I am wrong and I will take it 
all back. You know that I have preached the 

"Yes," said Graw, "'tis true; go ahead, and I 
will help you all I can." 

Jordan, a young man, a clerk who was the main 
steward in the Church, had made arrangements for 
the support of the preacher to the effect that if the 
Missionary Society would give them a hundred dol- 
lars they would try to raise enough to pay the 
preacher's board. Many not connected with the 
Church had subscribed who gave notice that they 
would not pay unless Mr. Crews would cease op- 
posing the Thespian Society. Mr. Crews told Jor- 
dan to inform them that he would refund what 
money any of this class had paid if they desired, 
but that he was bound to remain there. He was 
then thrown upon his own resources. He rented a 
room and moved his things into it. The next Sab- 
bath he again made remarks upon the theatrical 
performances. After service, when sitting in the 
sitting-room at his boarding place, a lady passed 
through the room and said: "I suppose you think 
you have been smart to-day ?" " I do n't know that 
I have any reason to congratulate myself/' Crews 
replied. " Well," said the lady, " you may say what 
you will against the theater, for myself I shall go 
there whenever I please." "I would just as soon 
you would go to hell as any body I know," said 
Crews. In a short time he went to get a drink and 
found her crying. He said he did not wish to 

GALENA. 105 

wound her feelings. Perhaps he had spoken harshly, 
and advised her to pursue a different course. She 
made no reply, but in less than four weeks she 
united with Mr. Kent's Church. 

Brother Crews was soon obliged to sell his fa- 
vorite horse "Luby" to pay expenses. In the 
course of the Winter he set out to attend a quar- 
terly-meeting at Vinegar Hill, about ten miles from 
Galena. Soon after he set out it commenced snow- 
ing very hard. He concluded that the safest way 
would be to go to the Mississippi. He steered his 
course by going from one tree to another. Being 
on foot he became damp with perspiration. The 
wind shifted to the north-west, and blew full in his 
face. Being weary and hungry he soon began to 
grow sleepy, and fell and rose repeatedly. From what 
he had heard of freezing he concluded that he was 
freezing to death. He thought of his mother, and 
what a sad thing it would be to perish in the snow 
and leave his body for the wolves. "While in the 
presence of this peril he would go to sleep and fall, 
and then remembering what danger threatened him 
he would arouse himself and go on. He finally 
near sundown reached the house he was seeking, 
and sat down speechless and senseless. Mr. Sim- 
mons and wife set to work with tub and water and 
brought him out of the arms of death. It was four 
weeks ere he could leave the place, and then he 
could not wear his boots. His kind host took him 
in a sleigh to Galena. It was now March. When 
navigation opened the old theater was turned into 
a warehouse, and this trouble for a time ended. 


But the ills of the severe shock Mr. Crews re- 
ceived on that trip to Vinegar Hill were not yet 
removed. About two weeks after his return one 
night he awoke very sick and began to vomit. He 
arose to strike a light, but fell to the floor, where 
he lay all night. In the morning he hoped no one 
would come in, for he felt as though he would 
rather do any thing than receive favors from the 
men about him. The day passed away and nobody 
came. The next day a young man came in on an 
errand. Crews begged him not to inform the peo- 
ple of his sickness, but the young man told Mr. 
Crews where he was wrong, and sent for Dr. New- 
hall. When the doctor left several friends came in 
and brought pillows, tea, and all that he could de- 
sire. The people seemed to vie with each other in 
caring for him. 

Dr. Nelson soon after came into the town and 
preached against infidelity, and seventy souls were 
converted and added to the Church. 

Brother Crews says : " I sometimes walked to my 
appointments, at other times kind friends would lend 
me a horse. And when the river was open in the 
Spring and Summer I could go to Rock Island on 
the steamboat, at least when I was able to pay for 
a berth. I several times walked twenty miles to 
Plattville, to Mineral Point, forty miles, to Hamil- 
ton Grove, and once to Rock Island. I generally 
walked to Dubuque to hold my quarterly-meetings 
there." Hooper Crews went south of our limits in 
1835 and did not return again until 1840, when he 
was stationed in Chicago. 

GALENA. 107 

The districts for the five years we have gone 
over were changeable. The half decade begins in 
1830, with two missions — Chicago and Galena — 
both in the Sangamon District, Peter Cartwright, pre- 
siding elder. In 1831 we have, "Mission District, 
Jesse Walker, superintendent." All the appointments 
within our bounds, and two out, were in this dis- 
trict, which extended from Chicago to Rock Island 
and Peoria. In 1832 there is for the first time a 
Chicago District, J. Walker still superintendent. 
It extended from Chicago to Pekin on the Illinois 
Jliver, below Peoria, and embraced Chicago, Des 
Plaines, Peoria, and Pekin Missions. Galena this 
year was in Quincy District. The Chicago District 
in 1833 received John Sinclair as presiding elder, and 
remained the same as the year before, only Galena 
was included, the district embracing all the terri- 
tory of the Rock River Conference, with Peoria 
and Pekin Missions besides. In 1834 there was no 
change, with the exception of the fact that Galena 
Mission District appeared. The whole membership 
in the bounds of the Rock River Conference in 
1835 was five hundred. 




THE work we have undertaken is now increasing 
in magnitude on our hands. By the following 
appointments the reader can trace the whole field 
for five years — years of exploration and forma- 
tion, years of toil and anxiety. Those in italics 
are new. 

1835. — Galena District, Alfred Brunson, superin- 
tendent and missionary to Indians on Upper Miss- 
issippi; Galena, Wellington Weigley. . . . 

Chicago District, Wilder B. Mack; . . . Bureau 
Mission, S. B. Beggs ; Ottawa Mission, S. F. Whit- 
ney; Des Plaines, D. Blackwell, Elihu Springer; 
Chicago Station, J. T. Mitchell ; Fox River Mission, 
William Royal. 

1836.— Chicago District, John Clark, P. E. Chi- 
cago, Otis F. Curtis; . . . Sycamore, Stephen Arnold; 
Des Plaines, William Royal ; Juliet, S. R. Beggs. 

Galena District, A. Brunson, P. E. . . . Galena, 
W. Weigley. . . . 

Rock Island District, Henry Summers ; Pickatolica, 
T. W.Pope; Apple River, M. Shunk ; Buffalo Grove, 
James McKean. 

Peoria District, John Sinclair, P. E. ... Ot- 
tawa Mission, Rufus Ijummery. 


1837.— Chicago District, J. Clark, P. E. Des 
Plaines, D. Coulson, Amos Wiley ; Chicago, Peter R. 
Borein; Dupage, Washington Wilcox, R. W. Clark; 
Sycamore, Stephen Arnold, William Gaddis; Soma- 
noe, L. S. Walker; Juliet, Wm. S. Crissey ; Forked 
Creek, S. R. Beggs ; Thornton, Milton Bourne ; Ot- 
tawa, S. P. Keyes, supply. 

Galena District, Bartholomew Weed, P. E. Ga- 
lena, William W. Mitchell; . . . Apple River, Colon 
D. James ; Picatolica, J. McKean. 

Rock Island District, H. Summers, P. E. Buffalo 
Grove, Robert Delap. . . . 

Peoria District, J. Sinclair, P. E. Princeton, 
Zadoc Hall. 

1838.— Chicago District, J. Clark, P. E. Chi- 
cago, P. R. Borein ; Elgin, H. W. Fink, J. M. Snow; 
Dupage, W. Wilcox, William Gaddis; Rockford, 
L. S. Walker, Nathan Jewett ; Somanoc, E. Springer ; 
Ottawa, J. Sinclair, Leven Moreland ; Wilmington, 
Milton Bourne ; Juliet, W. S. "Crissey, Asbury Chen- 
owith; Crete, Jesse Halsted. 

Galena District, B. Weed, P. E. Galena, W. W. 
Mitchell ; . . . Apple River, J. L. Bennett ; Free- 
port, J. McKean, John Gilham. . . . 

Rock Island District, H. Summers, P. E. Buf- 
falo Grove, Isaac Pool, Riley E. Hills. . . . 

Peoria District. . . . Princeton, R. Lummery, 
George Smith. 

1839.— Galena District, B. Weed, P. E. Galena, 
W. Wilcox ; Apple River, J. L. Bennett ; Freeport, 
Samuel Pillsbury; Buffalo Grove, G. G. Worthing- 
ton; Dixon, Luke Hitchcock, supply. . . . 


Chicago District, J. Clark, P. E. Chicago, S. H. 
Stocking; Elgin, John Nason, J. M. Snow; Crystal 
Lake, L. S. Walker, Ora A. Walker ; Koscoe, M. 
Bourne; Rockford, N. Jewett; Sycamore, Josiah 
W. Whipple, L. F. Molthrop, supply ; Bristol, Aus- 
tin F. Rogers; Dupage, William Kimball, William 

Ottawa District, J. Sinclair, P. E. Ottawa, sup- 
plies ; Milford, E. Springer ; Wilmington, William 
Vallette ; Crete, supplied ; Juliet, W. Weigley ; In- 
dian Creek, Wesley Batchellor ; Princeton, R. Lum- 

It will be seen that, in the five years embraced 
in the period which we now undertake to review, 
twenty new circuits were constituted. Some of 
them, however, were mere substitutes for old 
charges, so that there were only twenty separate 
appointments in 1839. 

Galena received in 1835 Wellington Weig- 
ley. This brother joined the Pittsburg Conference 
in 1834, and was appointed to Warren. AVith W. 
B. Mack and others, he was transferred to the Illi- 
nois Conference in 1835. He continued to fill 
appointments in the bounds of the Rock River 
Conference until 1842, when, on account of some 
alleged dishonesty in business transactions, he was, 
by a small majority, expelled the conference. At 
the organization of the Rock River Conference in 
1840 Weigley was one of its most prominent and 
promising young men, and a very eloquent and 
popular preacher. He has been engaged in the prac- 
tice of law ever since 1842, residing first at Eliza- 


beth and then at Galena. He returned to the 
Church in Galena, under the labors of J. H. Vin- 
cent in 1861. He published a book at Joliet, about 
the size of a twenty-five-cent Sunday-school book, 
in 1840. It was a compendium of Scripture proofs, 
and is probably the first work of any kind pub- 
lished by a member of the Rock River Conference, 
the second and third being two small publications 
written by the present writer, and published in 1855 
and 1857 — a small Sunday-school book and a work 
on Benevolence. 

In the Galena Advertiser of October 31, 1835, 
the following announcement appears : " The first 
quarterly-meeting for the Galena Station will be 
held in the Methodist chapel next Saturday and 
Sunday, 7th and 8th of November. Rev. A. Bran- 
son, superintendent of the district and missionary 
to the Indians on the Upper Mississippi, will be 
present on the occasion." 

The year closed without any thing occurring 
of special interest. Forty members were reported 
to conference, and W. Weigley returned to the 
charge. The second year closed up with only 
twenty-five members. The fluctuation was owing, 
in part to the fact that the inhabitants, mostly 
miners, were unsettled. 

At the conference of 1837, which met at Jack- 
sonville, "William "W. Mitchell was appointed to 
the charge. He was a cousin of John T. Mitchell, 
and had been received into the conference in 1834. 
Previous to going to Galena he had been appointed 
to Lebanon, Mt. Vernon, and Alton, three of the 


most important points in Southern Illinois. He was 
quite a young man. During his first year at Galena 
there was a revival in the Church, commencing 
in the later months of 1837 and continuing until 
some time in January, when it was abruptly inter- 
fered with by a most calamitous occurrence. At 
twelve o'clock, one bitter cold night in January, 
1838, the city was aroused by the cry of fire, and 
the little band of Methodists hurried out to the 
scene of conflagration to see their little church re- 
duced to ashes. It had cost many a struggle to 
erect and pay for it, but for five years they had 
worshiped within its humble, yet comfortable and 
sacred walls. There they had joined in many a 
triumphant song over rejoicing converts. At its 
altars they had many a time bowed to receive the 
emblems of the broken body of Jesus. Some of 
them there had been consecrated to God in baptism, 
and from its altars others had borne away their 
dead after engaging in sad funeral rites. But now 
they were without a place of worship. On the fol- 
lowing Sabbath Brother Mitchell preached to his 
little flock in the Chamber of Commerce, an upper 
room on Main Street. What other text could he 
choose but that beautiful and fitting one found in 
Isaiah lxiv, 11? — "Our holy and beautiful house, 
where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with 
fire; and all our pleasant things were laid waste." 
A person present says the preacher had scarcely 
announced his text when he burst into tears and 
could scarcely go on with his sermon. 

Somewhat strengthened by the addition of twenty 


or thirty members converted during the revival, 
the little homeless band at once resolved to rebuild. 
The Sunday-school was suspended for a time, but 
the meetings were kept up at the Chamber of Com- 
merce rooms, and at a private house on Franklin 
Street. One quarterly-meeting is announced in the 
Advertiser to be held in the basement of the court- 
house. The new church was of brick. The citizens 
were liberal with contributions and service to aid 
in rebuilding. The stones for the foundation were 
quarried from the hill in the rear of the church, 
and many of the brick were brought with teams 
from Plattville, twenty miles away. The basement 
was soon opened for service, and the usual meetings 
were resumed. Eighty members were reported at 
the close of the year, ten of whom were colored 

W. W. Mitchell was reappointed to the charge 
in 1838, but the burden of debt and the weakness 
of the little society discouraged him, and after la- 
boring a small portion of the year he left the place, 
and the society for a time was without a preacher. 
W. Weigley returned from Milwaukee, whither he 
had been sent at the conference, and supplied the 
pulpit. He spent some six weeks in soliciting aid 
for the church. The services continued to be held 
in the basement of the new building. 

In July of 1839 the population of Galena was 
about four thousand. But thirty-eight members 
were reported at the close of the year. 

In 1839 W. Wilcox was sent to Galena. The 

basement was still used, except in that portion of 



the year when the weather was warm, when meet- 
ings were held in the unfinished upper room. In 
July, 1840, a camp-meeting was held about eight 
miles from Galena, at which much good was done. 
The preacher lived in a back room of the basement. 
He superintended the Sunday-school most of the 
year, and confined his labors chiefly to Galena. 
The Sunday-school met at eight and a half in the 
morning, and preaching was held at ten and a half; 
class after preaching, and at two o'clock P. M. ; 
preaching again in the evening. During the year 
a protracted meeting, continuing six weeks, was 
held; about forty united with the Church, so that 
seventy-three members were reported at conference. 
The Church was four thousand dollars in debt when 
Brother Wilcox went there, with only thirty-two 
members to bear the burdens. The official board at 
this time were James Johnson, J. Whitham, J. Mc- 
Kinley, and Dudley Simmons. 

We left John T. Mitchell at his labors in Chi- 
cago in the Fall of 1835; he was continued the 
second year and returned to the station, which this 
year, by request of the Church, was stricken from 
the list of missions, to find matters in a pleasant 
condition. The city contained in November, 1835, 
a population of three thousand two hundred and 
sixty-five, but there was a powerful tide setting 
against success; this was the tide of speculation. 
No one who was not in the country at the time can 
conceive the force of this influence, which pervaded 
all ranks. Riches seemed within the reach of every 
one, and the poor of to-day were the rich of to- 


morrow. Town lots brought a higher price than in 
1-844, when lots were purchased on the corner of 
Madison and Halsted Streets for fifty dollars. The 
spirit of money getting became the ruling spirit. 
In the fever and whirl of excitement men were 
borne along the wave by the pervading mania 
towards the gulf of death. But the crash of 1837 
came on, and in some measure brought men to their 
senses. Many became active Christians and re- 
mained faithful to the end who were in danger of 
being made slaves to avarice. The members of 
the Church were carried into the whirling current, 
and religion languished. 

At the sale of "canal lots" in June, 1836, a 
month before the work on the canal was commenced, 
under an arrangement with Robinson Tripp, the lot 
one hundred and twenty by one hundred and thirty 
feet in size, was purchased at the corner of Clark 
and Washington Streets, on which the Methodist 
Church Block stands. The sum of one thousand 
one hundred dollars was paid down at the time, 
but was not the whole cost. The embarrassments 
which followed the crash of 1837 put an end to all 
hopes of building a church. 

But a parsonage was erected at a cost of two 
thousand five hundred dollars. This building, which 
stood south of the Clark Street churches, was oc- 
cupied as a parsonage until 1858, when it was re- 
moved to make room for the " Block." All these 
measures were accomplished chiefly through the zeal 
and efficiency of John T. Mitchell, who gave to the 
Church a thorough organization, and laid firmly the 


foundations of the society. The year began with 
seventy members and closed with eighty-eight. 

At the conference of 1836 Otis F. Cuktis suc- 
ceeded Mr. Mitchell. He was a quiet, aimable, and 
deeply pious man, who had joined the New Hamp- 
shire Conference from the Congregational Church, 
won by the doctrine of entire sanctification, but 
wanting in that controlling energy demanded by the 
times. In a year or two he withdrew, and returned 
to the Congregationalists, and in 1868 was pastor 
of the Congregational Church at Dover, Illinois. 

In the failure in business matters which occurred 
this Winter few of the members escaped. There 
were some who so grieved at the loss of their prop- 
erty they fell into despondency and forgot their 
God. The integrity of others was not proof against 
the sore trials, and many fell. The presiding elder 
of the district, W. B. Mack, in the Summer of 1836, 
fell into sin, and the scandalous conduct of some of 
the members of the Church completely discouraged 
the remaining few. It seemed at one time as though 
the Church would be scattered in confusion. " There 
has never been a time," says Grant Goodrich, one 
of Clark Street's most noble men, "in the history 
of Methodism in Chicago when false brethren and 
wicked men seemed so near the accomplishment of 
our destruction as at this period. We felt we were 
the scoff and scorn of the wicked and the reproach 
of the good." But among the wavering there were 
the true and faithful. O, how strong were the bonds 
of Christian love that drew the faithful of the little 
band together ! " The unity of heart, the oneness 


of purpose in which they lived, with which they 
prayed, was as the salt to save the Church." Not- 
withstanding their trials ninety members were re- 
ported at the close of the year. 

We now arrive at an epoch in the history of the 
Church that has been shining with gilt from that 
day till now. In 1837, in answer to the fervent 
prayers of the Church for a Joshua to lead them out 
of the wilderness, God sent them — this is Grant 
Goodrich's account of it — Petep Bubl,e Boeein, 
whose name in old Clark Street Church is as oint- 
jnent poured forth until this day. 

Peter Borein was the son of Greenbury and Mary 
(Buble) Borein, or Boring, as the parents spelled 
their name, and was born among the mountains of 
East Tennessee, on Sinking Creek, in Washington 
County, November 17, 1809. His father was a 
poor farmer, illiterate and wicked, of English de- 
scent; his mother was of German origin. 

The occasion of his conversion is rather inter- 
esting. In the year 1828 there lived in Tennessee 
a man named Harris. The Methodists had pene- 
trated into that region, and had begun to fill the 
land with their fame. Several camp-meetings were 
held, and wild rumors were afloat that the Metho- 
dists threw a " spell " over the worst of men, and 
the preachers held them until they "got religion." 
Out of curiosity Mr. Harris went to witness the 
wonderful works. The mighty " spell " of the Spirit 
was thrown over his heart, and he was glad to take 
his place among the seekers. He was soundly con- 
verted. The keen-eyed circuit preacher saw in the 


new convert a leader for the people, and before the 
camp-meeting was over he was pressed to take 
charge of a class. He accepted the work, and took 
charge of a little band nine miles from his home. 

One Sabbath afternoon, as he was riding home 
from his class-meeting, he saw a group of youngsters 
standing by a little store at the corners. Two of 
Mr. Harris's nephews were in the crowd. After 
passing, his soul became so burdened for the boys, 
he turned back to exhort them. He agreed if they 
would promise to attend the next camp-meeting 
that he would furnish a conveyance, and see that 
they were provided for during the meeting. 

His two nephews and eleven others promised to 
go, and when the meeting occurred the thirteen at- 
tended according to promise, and were all converted. 
One of these nephews was Peter Borein. The 
camp-meeting occurred in August, 1828, on Brush 
Creek. When the boys went home they were sub- 
jected to severe persecution. William McBride re- 
ceived a severe flogging. Young Peter was sum- 
moned into the presence of his father and informed 
that he must either give up his Church or his home. 
"And," said the father, " I will give you until to- 
morrow to decide." "You need not wait until to- 
morrow," said Peter, " I can tell you what I will 
do to-night; I will leave my home." And picking 
up a little bundle containing all his earthly posses- 
sions, he left his father's house, and went to reside 
with his uncle Harris. He became a great worker 
in the mountain Church. For years after there 
were many who remembered his first prayer. It 


ran thus : " Lord, have mercy on my soul ; been 
to camp-meeting, got religion, been happy ever 
since ; Lord, have mercy on Billy McBride's daddy. 

Eighteen months after Peter Borein's conversion 
Mr. Harris moved his family into Southern Illinois, 
taking Peter with him. He settled near Jackson- 
ville, in Morgan County. Young Peter commenced 
laboring in a brick-yard, which employ he con- 
tinued after he entered college, to gain means to pay 
his way. Encouraged and assisted by friends he 
entered Illinois College, at Jacksonville, in 1830, 
where he remained two years. While here, such 
was his piety and the indications of genius he ex- 
hibited, and the rapidity with which he advanced 
in his studies, he won the esteem and attention of 
his teachers and fellow students. He acquired a 
habit of study which never left him. The Fall be- 
fore his death he commenced the study of Hebrew, 
and in six weeks he could read very well with the 
aid of a lexicon. 

On leaving school he was immediately licensed 
to preach, and was received into the Illinois Con- 
ference in 1832, and was appointed the first year to 
Canton Circuit, with Peter Cartwright as his pre- 
siding elder. In 1833 he went to Rushville. In 
1834 he was sent to Henderson Mission; in 1835 
to Quincy, to which place he returned in 1836. In 
December of this year he married Miss Lucinda 
Burns. At Quincy he was eminently useful, and 
distinguished himself as an able and eloquent min- 
ister of the Gospel. But becoming mingled with 


anti-slavery movements in his last year he became 
with some very unpopular. 

At the conference at Rushville, in 1836, Brother 
Borein made a memorable missionary speech. So 
great was the enthusiasm created the preachers 
emptied their pockets so completely with contribu- 
tions many of them had to borrow money to return 
home. In his conference class his classmate, Zadoc 
Hall, says : " He always stood number one." His 
oratory was often of the word painting style. At 
one time he was picturing the wavering soul. Long 
he held the soul swaying between the Church and 
the world. Every inducement in heaven, on earth, 
and in hell was used to induce the wavering one to 
cleave to Christ. The recording angel stood in 
heaven with deep suspense, weeping — if e 'er angels 
weep — over the sad duty he must erelong perform. 
At last the soul became fully immersed in the world. 
He was given up of heaven, and the recording 
angel with one sweep of the pen blotted his name 
from the book of life. 

An eminent lawyer, who had once listened to 
Brother Borein, undertook in company to tell some- 
thing of his power, when the tide of tender memo- 
ries rushed upon him in such force the tears rolled 
down his cheeks, and his emotions choked his voice. 

Three young bloods stood leaning against a tree 
at a camp-meeting, listening to Borein's preaching. 
One after another began wiping his eyes, when one 
of them turned to the others and said, " What the 
are you crying about ?" 

During the last Winter of his life more than 


three hundred were converted in Chicago, and so 
great was the respect for him, whenever he passed 
along the street clamor would cease, even in the 
drinking saloons. His name was on every tongue, 
and if an auctioneer were selling a handkerchief he 
would perhaps remark, " Come, you will want this 
if you go to hear Borein preach." 

But his Master called him away ere he became 
an idol. He had finished his course, his crown was 
ready. " Who that heard the last sermon which he 
preached," inquires Grant Goodrich, "can ever for- 
get it, whether he shall reign with him in heaven 
or wail with the lost?" It was of the vision of the 
dying Stephen, " Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," 
being the text. As he spoke of the beatific sight 
which burst upon the raptured vision of the dying 
martyr he seemed to catch a glimpse of the glories 
which Stephen saw. There seemed a supernatural 
radiance glowing upon his countenance and a pro- 
phetic fire burning upon his lips. " God," he said, 
" had not seen fit fully to reveal to us the locality 
or the form of heaven, but every one, he presumed, 
had some mental conception of it and its inhabit- 
ants. He believed in the next world, as in this, 
there were degrees in Christian attainment, and that 
in that better land some would occupy positions 
higher than others. Sometimes his imagination had 
conceived heaven as a vast amphitheater, with seats 
rising in one grand circle, tier above tier, up to the 
very throne itself, and from the lowest seats the 
white-robed ones strike the exultant song of re- 
demption. It is caught up from rank to rank, 



growing louder and sweeter as it rises. In unison 
the angel choirs strike their lyres, and from every 
golden harp-string of saint and angel, of cherubim 
and seraphim, is poured the jubilant rapture of 
adoring song, and heaven becomes filled with an 
atmosphere of richest melody." " Who shall dare 
to say that God in that hour," asks Goodrich, "did 
not permit his soul to catch some dying strains of 
that heavenly music in which he was so soon to 
join?" "None knew him but to love him. He 
was a nearer impersonation of Christ than I ever 
expect to see again on earth," says Grant Goodrich. 
" In his words and looks there was a holy charm, a 
something that awed and yet captivated you. As 
an effective preacher I have never heard his equal. 
I have heard men of more varied learning, of more 
brilliancy and depth of thought, and more polished 
diction, but none of that moving, winning power, 
that seized the heart, and wrought conviction, and 
made his hearers willing captives. There was a 
persuasive earnestness, a yearning tenderness, that 
made his hearers feel that his heart would break 
under the awful sense of their danger, if they re- 
fused to come to Christ. There was a silvery music 
in his voice, a melting cadence in his tones, . . . 
that fathomed the deepest well-springs of the heart 
and turned the fountains of its affections toward a 
crucified Savior." He had great intellectual pow- 
ers, blended with beauty of feature and of expres- 
sion. His eyes were large, blue, lustrous. 

Some of Chicago's most permanent and faithful 
members were converted at Peter Borein's meetings 


in 1839. Among them were John B. Mitchell, 
J. K. Bottsford, and Mrs. Garrett. In some sense 
the illiterate boy of East Tennessee was the founder 
of Garrett Biblical Institute. John Dempster, con- 
verted at a camp-meeting in 1812; Peter Borein, 
converted at a camp-meeting in East Tennessee, in 
1828 ; Mrs. Garrett, converted under the preaching 
of Borein in 1839, — these are the influences that 
converged at Evanston in 1854. The conversion 
of a child may set influences at work that shall send 
ripples over the world, and swell to fuller tones the 
anthems of heaven. 

We have given a notice of Borein's last sermon. 
The meeting began that evening at six o'clock, and 
such was the interest it lasted till late into the night. 
The preacher went home too happy to sleep. He 
went out to make a few calls the next day, and on 
returning complained of being unwell, and went 
into his chamber, never to go out to earthly labor 
again. His disease was typhoid fever, and with 
much suffering he lay for seventeen days. During 
the time there was sickness in his family, and one 
child passed into life ere its father. When asked 
if he had any dread of death, Brother Borein said : 
"O no: I feel that my preparation for that was 
made long ago." He died at Chicago, August 15, 
1839, and after a funeral service in which all 
Churches united, and a sermon by Rev. I. T. Hin- 
ton, the Baptist preacher, his remains were buried 
in the cemetery north of Chicago. When he lay 
dying, messages went out every hour or so over the 
city concerning his state, and inquiries concerning 


him were on every lip. On the day of his funeral 
the church was draped in black, and the stores of 
the city were closed. He was but twenty-nine at 
his death. 

Peter Borein went to his work in Chicago, in 
1837, in the fullness of the Gospel, burdened with 
an anxious desire for success, and moved by the love 
of Christ for dying men. He gathered the flock 
around him, and poured forth words of comfort, 
" sweet and rapturous as the music of rippling wat- 
ers to the thirsty traveler on the arid desert. He 
breathed into them something of his own mighty 
faith and burning zeal, and, at the feet of the Re- 
deemer, with them cried for help, until sunlight 
chased away the darkness, and salvation was poured 
upon the people." 

During the Winter of 1838 quite a number were 
converted ; but, compared with the following year, 
the work was limited. The preacher reported 
eighty-two members at the conference and returned 
to the charge. Owing to the poverty of the Church 
a missionary appropriation was again made, to aid 
in supporting the pastor. During the Summer of 
1838 the little church on the North Side was 
moved across the river on scows, and set on the lot 
famous as old " Clark Street," and enlarged to 
double its size. In December a revival commenced, 
deep, widespread, and powerful. Night after night 
Peter Borein threw forth the arrows of divine truth, 
all flaming with love, and day after day he followed 
sinners to their homes and shops, even into the 
haunts of dissipation, urging them to be reconciled 


to God. The church was crowded all through to 
its utmost capacity, and every night the altar was 
thronged with penitent souls. Religion was the ab- 
sorbing theme in private and in public places- The 
concerns of the soul swallowed up every other 
thought. There were more than three hundred con- 
versions, which was about one-tenth of the whole 
population. The meetings continued from New- 
year's until April. Almost every revivalist has a 
peculiar way of dissecting souls, that brings the 
charge upon them of exposing people intentionally. 
Mr. Borein had this power more than most men. 
One case is in point. John B. Mitchell, who after- 
wards became an efficient member and a worthy 
class-leader, was often employed through the coun- 
try to fiddle at dances. His wife was a member of 
the Methodist Church ; but the husband refused to 
attend the meetings, and was called away to the 
country several times during the meetings, to play 
at dances. At length one evening he was induced 
through curiosity to go up to the church. Brother 
Borein hardly knew there was such a person, but, 
as Mitchell thought, he exposed him before the 
whole congregation. He went home enraged at his 
wife for telling the preacher about him. But there 
was no truth in the charge whatever. After a few 
nights Mr. Mitchell returned to the meeting, again 
to be dissected, the preacher telling the crowd all 
about him. He was angry, confused, puzzled, but 
under conviction. He still supposed his wife had 
been telling Mr. Borein all about him. The matter 
ended by Mr. Mitchell being happily converted. 


Too much acting in the pulpit is a serious fault; 
but now and then, when the wave of religious feel- 
ing is in tune for something of the kind, a little of 
the dramatic is in place. Mr. Borein was a born 
dramatist; but he held this power in reasonable 
check. Frequently, however, when they had had a 
glorious time, he would introduce a favorite song 
to close up with. There was a negro, " Pete " by 
name, who, being tuned by divine love, could sing 
to charm a congregation. Borein could sing also. 
Standing in the altar, the preacher would sing in 
rich, melodious tones : 

" What ship is this that 's passing by? 
O glory, hallelujah!" 

And Pete would respond in a voice still more me- 
lodious : 

" Why, it 's the old ship Zion. 

Borein would take up the question : 

" Is your ship well built, are her timbers all sound? 
O glory, hallelujah !" 

And Pete would answer : 

" Why, she 's built of Gospel timber, 

And so on to the close of " Old Ship Zion." 

Any one that has never listened to any thing of 
the kind can not imagine how such strains would 
melt into the very souls of the throng. The words 
are trivial, but the tune is one of the most melo- 
dious. We never heard Mr. Borein sing, but have 
been charmed by the rich voice of " Pete." He 
wandered away to the wicked world ; but once 


again he had a religious spell upon him, and in 
1845 we heard him, the last time probably he ever 
did such a thing, pour out a song rich with negro 
melody, in old Clark Street Church. 

During the meeting, as we have seen elsewhere, 
Mr. Augustus Garrett and Eliza Garrett, his wife, 
were converted. Mr. Garrett did not continue faith- 
ful ; but Mrs. Garrett was a pious, consistent mem- 
ber of Clark Street Church until her death in 1855. 
Her munificent gift is the foundation of the Garrett 
Biblical Institute. One man may accomplish an un- 
.important work ; one soul may be converted of no 
more consequence than the conversion of .any other 
soul of a thousand, and these things for which a 
laborer may take little credit will set in motion 
events that sway the destinies of thousands. Mrs. 
Garrett has been dead for years, and the Institute 
is making itself felt through the instrumentality of 
its sons in distant portions of the globe. 

As Brother Borein died during the Summer of 
1839, another was under the necessity of reporting 
his work at conference. The work of sifting had 
gone on until but one hundred and seventy mem- 
bers were reported. 

It was no easy task to follow Peter Borein. 
This task fell upon Sophronius H. Stocking. Peace 
prevailed, and there were quite a number of con- 
versions, and one hundred and fifty members were 
left to begin the new conference year, commencing 
in 1840. Mr. Stocking was a popular more than a 
revival preacher, and a man of kind and winning 
manners. He was one of the best preachers in our 


bounds in that day. He was born in Glastonbury, 
Connecticut, February 17, 1798, and was blessed 
with early religious culture and associations. His 
father and four brothers were ministers of the 
Gospel. He became a member of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church when nine years of age, and was 
licensed to preach in 1818, when but twenty years 
of age. He joined the old Genesee Conference in 
1822. By division he fell into the Oneida in 1828, 
where he remained until 1839, when he located, 
and settled at Bonus Prairie, Illinois. He was at 
once readmitted to the Illinois Conference, and sta- 
tioned at Chicago. In 1840 he went to Rockford. 
From 1841 to 1847 he was presiding elder. In 
1847 he took a superannuated relation, and from 
that time until his death, excepting five years, when 
he resumed work (1850 to 1855), he continued in 
this relation. Between 1855 and 1860 he settled in 
a quiet home at Beloit, Wisconsin. In the Winter 
of 1879, after an illness of thirteen weeks, feeble 
with age yet triumphant in faith, he, with joyful 
assurance, passed away from life. His remains 
were deposited in the beautiful cemetery at Beloit. 
Here was another man of pure life, quiet but de- 
termined disposition, moved by a gentle spirit, who 
passed through life unmarred and always reliable. 
Chicago became a city in 1837, and was in 1840 
a growing and permanent place. From the days 
of Peter Borein Methodism began to be a power, 
and the year 1840 commenced with great prospects 
of success, under Hooper Crews as pastor. He had 
been absent from our bounds five years, doing noble 


work in other parts. He came now to remain. 
From that time till his death he never had work 
outside the conference bounds, except the one year 
(1862) he went as chaplain of the One-hundredth 
Illinois down into Tennessee. 

This year at Chicago was one of greatest success. 
Many persons were brought into the Church who 
were in after years among the most efficient of 
Clark Street workers. So greatly did Mr. Crews 
endear himself to the people he ever after became 
a favorite with Chicago Methodists. At the time 
of his death they had just planned, at Clark Street, 
a measure for making him a sort of assistant pastor, 
making a sinecure place for his rest in his old days. 
It was not to be carried out, however; for Hooper 
Crews was permitted to " cease at once to work and 
live" in 1880. 




DAVID BLACKWELL was returned to Des 
Plaines Circuit in 1835, with Elihu Springer 
as junior preacher. Mr. Blackwell's health failed, 
so that he continued but a small portion of the 
year. Mr. Springer was left alone ; but he had a 
prosperous year, and stood high with the people. 
The first quarterly- meeting was held December 19, 
1835, at James Walker's, at Walker's Grove; the 
second at Juliet, February 20, 1836 ; the third at 
Brother Watkins's, on Forked Creek ; the fourth at 
Brother Ballard's, at the head of Big Woods, near 
Batavia. At this last quarterly -meeting Amos 
Wiley came up with a recommend from Juliet class 
for license to preach. He was licensed, and recom- 
mended to conference. 

The numbers reported were two hundred and 
fifty -three. In 1836 William Royal succeeded 
Brother Springer on the northern half of the circuit; 
but his health failed, and he left the charge early in 
the Fall, and Washington Wilcox took his place. 
The circuit had been divided, so that a line drawn 
from Chicago to Naperville and Aurora was the 
southern line. The circuit extended to the Wis- 


consin line, taking all the country from Fox River 
to Lake Michigan. In the Fall of 1836 the Ham- 
mers settled at Hoosier Grove, four miles east of 
Elgin. During the Summer of 1836 a local preacher 
by the name of Essex, employed by the elder, ex- 
plored the country, and established most of the ap- 
pointments which made up Des Plaines Circuit after 
the conference of 1836, embracing Elgin and the 
surrounding country. Washington Wilcox had been 
a member of the New Hampshire Conference ; but, 
having located to come West, he was employed by 
the elder to take charge of the new circuit. He 
commenced his work in December, 1836, and found 
a few classes that William Royal had formed during 
the past Summer. 

Mr. Wilcox set out on the first round on his cir- 
cuit, and, as a specimen of the manner of travel and 
the stormy days endured by all the early preachers, 
we give his whole account of it : 

"A severe snow-storm overtook me at Father 
Hamilton's [near Elgin], on Monday night, which 
continued all the next day. Tuesday morning Har- 
vey Hamilton piloted me through to Hammer's 
Grove, where I had an appointment for eleven 
o'clock. After preaching, I inquired the way to 
my night appointment at Denny's Ferry, and was 
told that it was eight miles, but that I could not 
find it in such a storm. Not having admitted that 
' can 't ' had a place in language, I wished to know 
why I could not find the place, and was informed 
that I had to go four miles across the prairie, and 
then four miles through the barrens, without any 


track or marks to direct me, and, although they 
knew the place well, they could not find it that day. 
I reluctantly concluded that if those who knew 
where the place was could not find it, probably I 
could not. 

" The next morning the snow was thirteen inches 
deep. I then inquired for Plumb Grove, the place 
of my next appointment. Brother Hammer, being 
a new settler, did not know where the grove was, 
but said that across the prairie four miles Mr. Miller, 
one of the oldest settlers of the country, lived, 
and he could tell all about the groves. I mounted 
my pony and plodded through the snow until I 
reached the grove, but the brother had forgotten to 
tell me that Miller lived in the center, and that 
there was neither track nor mark to tell me where 
to look for the place. Being a Yankee I had to 
fall back on the privilege of guessing, so I guessed 
that like every body I had found he lived some- 
where on the side of the grove. I started on in 
an easterly direction, and soon discovered the body 
of a house among some trees, standing a little out 
from the main grove, and made my way for the 
same. After crossing a small lake, which I mistook 
for a meadow, I reached the house and found it 
without windows and uninhabited. I started on, 
and after riding two miles came to a place where 
some one lived. I made inquiry for Plumb Grove 
and received for answer that they were strangers, 
having just arrived in the country, and did not 
know the names of the groves. 

"By this time I concluded it was a wild-goose 


chase to look for any one who knew where Plumb 
Grove was situated. What was I to do? I knew 
enough of the location to know that it must lie 
further east, and as the clouds had broken so that 
I could see the sun I laid my course as near east 
as I could. The country was all a vast sea of snow, 
except in the direction which I called east, where 
I could see the top of some trees, which proved to 
be a small grove. When I reached this landmark 
and wound around it awhile I found some cattle 
feeding at a stack. I looked until I found a path 
.leading into the midst of the grove. This I fol- 
lowed until I found a log hut containing a man, of 
whom I learned that Plumb Grove was in sight 
only three miles distant. I reached the grove and 
found the congregation waiting, as it was a little 
past the hour of preaching. After meeting I rode 
to Elk Grove, and preached at night. The next 
day I preached at Dunkley's Grove and at Walker's 
Bridge. The next day there was another heavy 
snow storm, making the snow about two feet deep. 
That day I had to ride only three miles to the 
steam mill, but the next I had to be at the 
mouth of Salt Creek at eleven o'clock, then cross 
the prairie and barrens to Flagg Creek, where there 
was no track, lane, or other sign to guide me. 

"The next day was Sunday and brought me 
around to Brother Clifford's, where I had left my 
wife. The friends had tried to comfort her with 
the assurance that I would not attempt to travel; 
that the people would not let me start, as no one 
pretended to travel at such times. But she con- 


eluded they did not know the man they were talk- 
ing about. On Monday I had to go forward to 
Charles Gary's, near Turner Junction, where I had 
arranged for my wife to have a home. As I had 
no team I made arrangements to have her brought 
over the next day. About sunset on Monday it 
began to rain, and continued raining twenty-four 
hours until the snow was so saturated with water it 
was ready to run oif in a body, when it suddenly 
turned to a hard freeze, so that it froze over springs 
that were never known to be frozen before. This 
covered the country with ice, and made splendid 
traveling for the remainder of the Winter. But 
when the ice began to break up we had a time that 
tried man and beast. 

"On the 11th of March I left Charles Gary's to 
go up the west side of the creek. At the same 
time Mr. Amasa Gary, father of Charles Gary, 
and George Gary, of the Black River Conference, 
left to go up on the other side to reach his home. 
The fog was so dense a man could see but a little 
distance. Mr. Gary lost his way, and perished 
within half a mile of his own house. He lay eight 
or nine days before he was found. I attended his 
funeral March 17, 1837, on Friday, a warm and 
thawing day. After this it turned very cold again. 
On Saturday, March 25th, I started for Chicago to 
spend the Sabbath. I passed along on the ridge 
until I reached Salt Creek. This stream had a high 
bank on the west side. There was a bridge across 
on a level with the bank, and then a wing at a 
steep inclination to go down to a low flat on the 


other side. I rode across the main bridge, but when 
my horse stepped off he sank down midside into the 
water. We now had nothing to do but to wade 
ashore. We passed on to the big slough, where the 
water was about a hundred yards across and three 
feet deep. The thaw the day before had loosened 
the ice from the bottom. My horse plunged in, 
breaking the ice ; when tired of this he broke for 
the shore. I spurred in again and went until I was 
glad to back out. Go back, I could not, for it was 
impossible to get on to the Salt Creek Bridge, and 
J did not know whether I could get out north or 
south, as I had never traveled in either direction. 
I rode up stream a little way and put out to sea 
again, when happily I found ice strong enough to 
bear the horse. I alighted and led forward, one 
foot of the horse frequently breaking through the 
rotten ice. In this way we went within a few yards 
of the shore, and came to open water. I then began 
to contrive how to get my horse down into the 
water and get on his back, when the ice gave way 
and let us down. Of course we had nothing to do 
but wade out as best we could. I went forward two 
miles to the Des Plaines. Here I crossed on the 
bridge, but the east bank was low, so that when we 
got off the bridge the horse was midside in water, 
and a sharp piece of ice setting out from the shore 
up to the breast of the horse. There was no going 
around. The horse made a spring and threw his 
fore feet on to the ice, which immediately gave way. 
In this way we reached the shore, the horse break- 
ing the ice before him. The Chicago flat, ten miles 


across, was now to be traveled. It was covered 
with ice the greater part of the way, in places strong 
enough to bear the horse with a man, while some 
of the way it would not bear a man alone. During 
the whole day it had been freezing, so that when I 
arrived in Chicago myself and horse were covered 
with ice." 

The writer well remembers this sheet of ice, for 
that same Winter he, with other school fellows of 
Mr. King's school, skated all over the West Side. 

"I spent a pleasant day in Chicago," continues 
W. Wilcox. "On Monday I started up the North 
Branch of the Chicago River. When I was out 
some six miles I called on the family of a local 
preacher, and found them coming down from the 
loft, where they had been held prisoners some time by 
the waters, which had submerged the lower floor. 
On my way out I fell in company with a superan- 
nuated preacher from Maine, and we traveled on to 
Deer Grove, south of Libertyville. Before we 
reached the grove we came to a creek covered with 
ice, concerning the depth of which we could tell 
nothing. I threw my saddle-bags over, and then 
on full charge jumped across. The brother then 
drove my horse in, and he broke the way for the 
brother to ride across. From Deer Grove I made 
my way to the Oplain, forty miles north of Chicago, 
and then turned up the lake thirteen miles, and 
stayed at Brother Shields's. After crossing the chan- 
nel of the stream on the bridge the horse had to 
make his way through water a long way across the 
flat. The next morning I had to cross the Oplain 


to a point over four miles south of Libertyville. 
I started directly for the point, crossed the Chicago 
River, and reached the Oplain (Des Plaines), where 
the water was about ten feet deep, and covered with 
ice, which lay on the top of the water. It being 
impossible to cross I had to retrace my steps and 
return north thirteen miles, and after crossing the 
river return south the same distance. The next 
morning I started for Wheeling, but when I reached 
Buffalo Creek the banks were overflowed with water 
and ice. Taking a pole from the fence I broke a 
way before my horse to the log bridge, to find the 
logs afloat and rolling in the water. Here I came 
to a stand still. To cross was to risk the spoiling 
of a borrowed horse, and if I should get to the 
place of meeting the people could not get there. I 
retired and halted until morning. To proceed then 
was to swim creeks nearly every day for a week, 
with any amount of ice, and on reaching the ap- 
pointments I would not be likely to find many 
people. I was now where I could take a ridge and 
get home in safety ; so I concluded to try the road 
home. But in going home the water often flowed 
into my boots while sitting on my horse. Thus 
ended the breaking up of the Winter in 1837. 
About one hundred were added to the Church this 
year, and about the same on Dupage Circuit the 
second year." 

The appointments during the latter part of the 
year were as follows: Manchester; St. Charles; 
Curran's, one mile east of Clinton ville ; Elgin; 

Dundee; Denny's Ferry, on Fox River; Deer 



Grove; Crystal Lake; at Mrs. Brooks's, some miles 
north of Liberty ville ; at the junction of the Oplain 
and Lake-shore Roads — probably at the "York 
House;" on the Lake-shore Road, thirty miles 
north of Chicago; west side Oplain, four miles 
south of Liberty ville ; Wheeling; near where Chi- 
cago Road crossed the Oplain ; Mr. Walton's ; Mark 
Noble's, on North Branch, eight miles north of Chi- 
cago ; on Oplain, where the Elk Grove Road crossed, 
near the present crossing of the North-western 
Railway ; Walker's Bridge ; steam mill at the 
mouth of Salt Creek ; Flag Creek ; on east side of 
East Dupage ; west side of the same ; Charles Gary's, 
at Gary's mill, near junction; Sanderson's; Ham- 
mer's, at Hoosier Grove ; Plumb Grove ; Elk Grove ; 
Dunkley's Grove ; Churchill's Grove ; Naperville ; 
east side of Big Woods ; and Aurora, making thirty- 
two appointments in four weeks — four more than 
one a day. 

It will appear strange to the new race to hear 
that week-day appointments were as well attended 
and as prosperous as those on the Sabbath. The 
week-day appointments subsided into week evening 
appointments, and they at last, as a general thing, 
have been dispensed with. It is not so much the 
fault of new Methodism, however, that things are 
changed as of the changed state of the country. 
When these week-day appointments were the only 
opportunities to hear preaching, they were at- 
tended, but when towns grew, and churches were 
built, and Sabbath preaching established, the Meth- 
odist week-day appointments were of little account. 


William Royal organized classes in 1836 at Elk 
Grove, at Wheeling, and at Hoosier Grove, four 
miles east of Elgin. W. Wilcox organized classes 
at Naperville, at Elgin, and at Plumb Grove, all in 
1837. The- names of members at Plumb Grove 
were Samuel Smith (leader) and wife ; Joseph Smith 
and Sarah Smith, his wife ; and Seth Peck and wife, 
who had been members of the first class at Elk 
Grove, organized by Brother Royal in 1836. 

At the conference of 1837 the circuit had two 
hundred members. This year the work was divided, 
the Des Plaines Circuit retaining the appointments 
up and down the Des Plaines River from Lockport 
to Chicago, Dupage Circuit taking the western half. 
The preachers on the Des Plaines portion were D. 
Coulson and Amos Wiley. Amos Wiley was a 
tailor in the bounds of the old Ottawa Mission, and 
joined conference from Juliet in 1836. He con- 
tinued to do efficient work for some years, but at 
length, on account of ill health, he superannuated, 
and still is a superannuated member of the Rock 
River Conference. 

In 1838 the Des Plaines Circuit disappeared from 
our lists, the appointments being embraced in other 
newly formed circuits. 

It will be remembered that in 1834 William 
Royal was on the Ottawa Circuit. During the year 
the settlers poured in along the tributaries of the 
Fox and Rock Rivers, and. several appointments 
were established along Fox River. In 1835 all 
the country above Milford was set off" into a work, 
with Brother Royal as preacher. Ottawa included 


the appointments from Ottawa to twenty miles 
above the mouth of Fox River. S. F. Whitney 
was the preacher. During the year the wife of the 
preacher was overtaken in sin, and the year was a 
failure. Whitney and his frail wife removed East 
at the close of the year, leaving a hundred and 
sixty members on the Ottawa charge. Rufus Lum- 
mery was sent to the circuit in 1836, and in 1837 
it was left to be supplied. S. P. Keyes, who had 
just come out from the East, supplied the work. In 

1838 one hundred and five members were reported, 
and Leven Moreland, who had just been received 
into the conference, was appointed to Ottawa. In 

1839 it was left to be supplied. The first class was 
organized at Ottawa in 1833 by S. R. Beggs. A 
neat frame church was erected in 1847, and the 
present fine brick was built under the supervision 
of John A. Gray in L866, and dedicated by Dr. T. 
M. Eddy. 




IN 1834 S. R. Beggs was appointed to Bureau 
Mission, and in 1835 returned to the charge. 
The circuit remained about the same as the year 
.before. There was a glorious work during the year, 
and the members increased from one hundred to 
two hundred and thirty-one. Abraham Jones was 
the first class-leader in Princeton, and during this 
year Brother Beggs appointed S. F. Denning leader 
of the Princeton class. The year closed with a 
glorious camp-meeting at Brother Ellis's, above 
Jones, on Bureau. W. B. Mack, the presiding 
elder, and A. E. Phelps, who came up from Pekin 
to help, and Brother Beggs, were the preachers. 
"A. E. Phelps," says Mr. Beggs, "gave us one of 
his best efforts from the second Psalm." The next 
year, 1836, William C. Cumming was sent to the 
circuit. He was a mild and aimable man, who has 
furnished one or two sons to the ministry, and now 
is a superannuated member of the Central Illinois 

In 1837 the name "Bureau" was discontinued, 
and " Princeton " appeared in its stead, with Za- 
doc Hall as preacher. In 1832 the country was 
embraced in the Peoria Mission, and Zadoc Hall 


being on that work explored the country around 
Princeton, establishing appointments and organizing 
classes among the settlements along Bureau River. 
One of these appointments, as we have seen, was at 
the house of Abraham Jones, two miles north-west 
of Princeton. A class was formed in 1833, which 
was the nucleus of the present Princeton Church. 
Brother Hall preached at this place in 1833 Sun- 
day afternoon, and led class after preaching, and in 
1837, when the name was changed to Princeton, he 
was again on the work to break the bread of life 
to the people in the yet thinly settled neigh- 

Zadoc Hall was born in Delaware, but often 
has been taken for a Yankee by Yankees them- 
selves; and he says he admits that he likes the 
Yankees. He must have come to Illinois early, for 
he was admitted to the Illinois Conference in 1832. 
He is a quiet, easy, good man, who may be relied on 
in any time of trial, and was appointed to several 
places in the Rock River Conference to act in the 
capacity of peace- maker. He is at present (1885) a 
member of the Central Illinois Conference. 

In 1836 an attempt was made to build a brick 
church at Princeton, forty by sixty, but the brick 
being spoiled in burning, the subscription was all 
lost. The next season it was determined to reduce 
the size to 30 by 40 ; but so much money had been 
sunk in the first attempt this second undertaking 
could not go on. But the plucky society resolved 
to have a church of some kind, and they built one 
twenty by thirty. It was inclosed, and one coat of 


plastering put on just before Christmas, 1838. It 
was seated with temporary benches, and there were 
glorious meetings in the new little church. It was 
finished in the Summer of 1839, and dedicated at a 
quarterly-meeting by John Sinclair. 

Buffalo Grove Circuit included the country east 
of Galena as far as Rock River, and south to Rock 
Island. A young man named L. A. Sugg was ap- 
pointed to the charge. He was pious and laborious. 
In the month of June, 1835, he was taken sick, and 
after a few weeks of suffering died in the Lord, and 
was buried on Apple River, near where Elizabeth 
now stands. " He was not regarded," says his pre- 
siding elder, " as a very great man ; but his consis- 
tent piety made a good impression on all who knew 
him. I loved him much." He had been admitted 
on trial at the conference of 1834, and thus early he 
ended his career. He must have had an appoint- 
ment at Elkhorn Grove, for we have heard the old 
settlers of that neighborhood speak of him. 

Thirty members were reported at the end of the 
year, which included all the members of the Church 
in the country between the Mississippi and Rock 
Rivers not included in the Galena charge. 

The mission was continued in 1835, after the 
death of L. A. Sugg, by James McKean ; but, for 
some reason, neither the work nor the preacher's 
name appears in the Minutes of that year. Mr. 
McKean was continued on the charge in 1836. On 
the 6th of March, 1836, six months before the con- 
ference of that year, George D. H. Wilcoxon and 
family settled at Buffalo Grove, then in Jo Daviess 


County. Another family came with Mr. Wilcoxon, 
and these, with what were already on the ground, 
made a neighborhood of sixteen families. 

James McKean had preached there regularly for 
some months previous, and on the Sabbath after the 
arrival of the Wilcoxons formed the first class at 
Buffalo Grove, consisting of five members. Those 
first notables of an after influential circuit were 
George D. H. Wilcoxon ; Annie, his wife ; Nancy A., 
his daughter, aged thirteen, now (1863) Mrs. N. A. 
Mason, of Polo ; Mrs. Mary Smith ; and Oliver W. 
Kellogg, the tavern-keeper. The settlement was 
on the direct road, by Dixon's Ferry, from Galena 
to the Wabash River country. The preaching was 
held for several months in the back room of the 
tavern, where the class and Sunday-school also met. 
The Sunday-school was organized the same day the 
class was formed. The number, counting all, was 
about twenty, with Mr. Wilcoxon as superintendent. 
This Sunday-school and class have never been suffered 
to go down, and now Polo Methodism stands as the 
outgrowth of that little vine planted nearly fifty 
years ago. The attendance upon Mr. McKean's 
preaching numbered from thirty to forty. 

In the Fall of 1836 a large school-house was built 
by public subscription, and was used for all public 
purposes until August, 1850, when a Methodist 
church costing $1,600 was dedicated by Dr. McNeil. 
In September, 1836, the first camp-meeting west of 
Rock River was held at Elkhorn Grove, one of the 
appointments of Buffalo Grove Circuit, six miles 
west of Buffalo Grove. There were many conver- 


sions at this meeting. The ministers in attendance 
were Alfred Brunson, presiding elder of the dis- 
trict ; W. Weigley, of Galena ; Colon D. James, 
Alexander Irvine, father of William R. Irvine, from 
Byron ; and M. Shunk, from Apple River. 

During this first Summer temperance and mis- 
sionary societies were formed by Wilcoxon and 
others. The preaching and Sunday-school were 
in Brother Wilcoxon's log cabin, fourteen feet square, 
when not convenient to have meeting at the tavern, 
and many of the early ministers of the Rock River 
Conference broke bread at his table during the 
early years. Bishop Waugh honored the log cabin 
with his presence on his way to the Mt. Morris 
Conference in 1840. 

This Brother Wilcoxon was the soul of Metho- 
dism in the Buffalo Grove country until his death, 
although a few years before that event he did not 
feel very cheerful, because the Central Railway 
built up Polo a mile and a half from Buffalo town, 
and drew every thing away from the old ground. 
Age clings to the sacred places of the past. It is 
well it is so. From this comes a conservatism that 
gives balance to the driving wheels of change. The 
old way is sometimes too slow, but this often pre- 
vents the young from being too fast, as they are 
often inclined to be. Brother Wilcoxon died on 
the 6th of October, 1862, at sunrise, after a painful 
illness of three weeks. He called his family to his 
bedside, bade each one farewell, saying just before he 
departed, "All is well; my way is clear; Jesus is 

with me." Seven weeks later his wife followed 



him, after living a Christian life for fifty-nine years. 
The daughter, Mrs. N. A. Mason, is (1883) the only 
remaining member of that little class. O. W. Kel- 
logg left the Church soon after uniting with it, and 
Mrs. Smith left the place about the same time. 

The circuit for 1836 had appointments at Wash- 
ington Grove, Byron (near Freeport), Buffalo Grove, 
and Elkhorn, including all the country between the 
Mississippi and Rock Rivers south of Freeport, with 
one or two appointments on the east side of Rock 
River. In the Spring of 1837 Brother McKean 
organized a class near Byron, and the same year 
Robert Delap was appointed to Buffalo Grove. He 
was an old and successful preacher, having joined 
the Ohio Conference in 1820, but becoming en- 
tangled in the Wesleyan movement he withdrew 
from the Church in 1843, and was one of the main 
leaders of Wesleyanism for many years. But in 
1852 he returned to the Methodist Episcopal Church, 
and joined the Wisconsin Conference, and in 1863 
occupied a superannuated relation in the West Wis- 
consin Conference. He died February 2, 1884, 
aged eighty-seven. 

The circuit at this time embraced what after- 
wards became Mt. Morris, Light House, Dixon, 
Savannah, and Lee Center charges. In 1838 two 
preachers were appointed ; these were Isaac Pool 
and Riley E. Hills. Mr. Hills was received this 
year. He traveled to the end of the year, and then 
passed out of sight. These were succeeded in 1839 
by G. G. Worthington, a good and noble brother, 
who sustained an honorable relation to the confer- 


ence until its division in 1856, when he fell into 
the Central Illinois Conference, of which he was a 
member until his death. He was for many years 
missionary treasurer of the Rock River Conference. 

The members reported from Buffalo Grove Mis- 
sion in 1836 were two hundred and twenty-two, 
showing that there were many Methodists in the 
country in that early day. In 1839 there were 
three hundred and forty-five. Many of these mem- 
bers were near Mt. Morris, where there was a good 
school and regular preaching in 1838. 

A circuit was set off in 1836, including the 
country about Galena, and called Apple River. 
An account of its origin will involve the history of 
two other charges. M. Shunk, who has been for 
many years a faithful laborer in the Illinois Con- 
ference, came West from Pennsylvania in the Fall 
of 1834. He fell in with J. D. Winters, from 
Apple River, at Peoria, who persuaded him to go 
to his place to open a school. Mr. Shunk accepted 
the invitation, and set out for Galena by stage. 
At Dixon, remaining in the stage, while it was 
waiting an hour or so, he was accosted by John 
Sinclair, presiding elder of the district, who intro- 
duced himself and Barton Randle. Sinclair and 
Randle were on their way to Mt. Carmel to attend 
conference. Elder Sinclair informed the young 
school-teacher that there was no preacher or preach- 
ing west of Rock River, except at Galena and Rock 
Island, and requested him to go on and do the best 
he could, and he would send a preacher to explore 
and occupy the country between Rock and Mis- 


sissippi Rivers. Mr. Shunk went on to Fort Apple 
River, and halted at a place fifteen miles south-east 
of Galena, near where Elizabeth now stands. He 
found no school-house, but set to work cutting logs, 
and, by a little help, in four weeks had a small 
house ready to occupy. He immediately organized 
a Sabbath-school, which commenced on the 5th of 
October, 1834. The day-school was opened the 
next day. A preacher was sent on ; but he was 
hardly the man for his task. It was L. A. Sugg, 
who was a very good young man, but wanting in 
experience. By the time young Sugg arrived 
Shunk's school-house was in readiness and the Sab- 
bath-school in operation. Mr. Sugg soon organized 
a class, and appointed M. Shunk leader. 

A family by the name of Jewell, most of whom 
were Methodists, moved into the neighborhood 
about the time the class was organized, and also a 
Brother Wilson, and there were good meetings 
through the Winter. The class in a few months 
numbered sixteen members. This was the only 
class Brother Sugg organized before his death, which 
occurred in June, 1835. There was no one to sup- 
ply Mr. Sugg's place, and Brother Shunk strove to 
keep up meetings in the school-house. There was 
Sunday-school at nine o'clock ; at eleven o'clock 
Brother Shunk read a sermon, generally from Wes- 
ley; after which followed prayer and class-meeting, 
with a prayer-meeting in the evening. The mis- 
sion was called Buffalo Grove, and included all the 
settlements between the Mississippi and Rock River, 
from Galena to Rock Island. The charge does not 


appear on the Minutes in 1835, but it was con- 
tinued, and James McKean sent on as preacher. 
He established appointments in all parts of the 
work, as will be seen in our account of Freeport 
Circuit, and during the year gave M. Shunk license 
to exhort. Mr. McKean returned two hundred and 
twenty members. In 1836 the circuit was divided 
into three parts, the parts being called Buffalo 
Grove, Apple River, and Picatolica Missions. The 
last afterwards became Freeport Circuit. A. Brad- 
shaw was appointed to Apple River ; but as he did 
not go to his work, Apple River and Picatolica 
Circuits were thrown together for the year, and M. 
Shunk sent on as a supply, under T. W. Pope, who 
was preacher in charge. 

In 1841 Samuel Pillsbury was on the Apple 
River charge, and the extent of the work may be 
seen by the lists of appointments. The appointments 
were at Avery's Hollow ; E. Covil's house ; Thomas 
Burton's house ; Myron S. Hill's ; Gleason's ; Eliz- 
abeth, where the preaching was still in a log school- 
house ; Fairplay school-house ; Vinegar Hill, in 
Mr. Shattuck's house, where the preacher formed a 
class and appointed Brother Rogers, who now lives 
at Marengo, leader ; and at Leckley's Furnace, in 
the house of Mark Leckley, who was a local 
preacher. The people here and at Council Hill 
built a chapel in 1841, in which Pillsbury preached 
after its completion. From Leckley's the preacher 
went to Hardscrabble, where a chapel was built in 
1842 ; thence to Aldridge's ; to New Diggins ; to 
Council Hill, where a class was formed in 1842, with 


William Lightfoot as leader ; to Meek's ; to Small- 
pox Creek, where another class was organized, with 
A. Chase as leader ; to Miner's Chapel ; to White- 
oak Springs, where another class was organized by 
Mr. Pillsbury, with a Brother Ankeney as leader; 
to Soule's ; to Shullsburg, where the meetings were 
held in a school-house ; to the head of Apple River, 
where the preaching was in James Thomas's house; 
and to Alleghany Settlement. There were three 
chapels on the circuit. The leaders not already 
named were R. Cundiff, John Davis, Henry Wy- 
man, Joseph Liddle, James Pratt, E. Howe, and 
Abram Crissey. The circuit extended along the 
Illinois line, between Galena and Plattville, as 
much as thirty miles east. 




HAVING sketched the progress of the old cir- 
cuits for our half-decade, we turn to the new 
works constituted during this time ; and first on 
our list is Fox River Mission, opened in 1835, 
with William Royal as preacher. This is altogether 
a different affair from Jesse Walker's Fox River 
Mission of 1829. That took all from Ottawa to 
Chicago ; this embraced all from Ottawa to Rock- 
ford. William Royal was on Ottawa Mission the 
year before, and pushed up Fox River as far as the 
white man had gone. Ottawa was made the center 
of a circuit, and all the appointments north of Mil- 
ford, and the country beyond to Rock River, con- 
stituted a " mission," which this peer among pioneer 
princes, who afterwards labored in Oregon effect- 
ually, was sent to explore. A few of the appoint- 
ments were established the year before ; but at 
Pleasant Grove (now Marengo), Belvidere, and 
Rockford, he preached the first sermons and organ- 
ized classes. When it was found that one preacher 
was not sufficient, Samuel Pillsbury, who joined con- 
ference the next year, was supplied to aid Brother 
Royal in his work. We do not know what were 
the appointments in the beginning of the year, but 


during the last months of the year the route trav- 
eled every four weeks was somewhat as follows : 
Starting from Millbrook, in the southern part of 
Kendall County, the preachers went to Mr. Wells's, 
south of Yorkville ; to Daniel Pierce's, now Os- 
wego ; to McCarty's, at Aurora ; to Hammer's, at 
Hoosier Grove, east of Elgin ; to Charles Gary's, 
three miles north of Warrenville ; to Salt Creek ; to 
Elk Grove ; to Plumb Grove ; Everett's ; Alexan- 
der's ; Mark Noble's, on North Branch of Chicago 
River, six miles from Chicago, where there was a 
small church, built in 1838; Wissencraft's, on the 
Des Plaines ; Liberty ville ; Brook's ; Ladd's, near 
the State line ; Marsh's Grove, preaching at Brother 
Russell's ; Deer Grove ; Dundee ; Crystal Lake ; 
Virginia Settlement, north of Woodstock ; Pleasant 
Grove ; Mason's, two miles below (West) Belvidere ; 
Enoch's, eight miles north-east of Rockford ; Mouth 
of Kishwaukie ; Lee's Mill, near Sycamore ; Wal- 
rod's ; Seeley's, at Squaw Grove ; and at Somanoc, 
where the preaching was at Brother Hough's. What 
a circuit ! 

S. R. Beggs, being on Bureau Mission this year, 
went up in place of the elder to hold a quarterly- 
meeting, in the Summer of 1836, on William 
Royal's circuit. The meeting- was on Sycamore 
Creek, and was probably the first ever held in that 
country. Returning towards his home at Walker's 
Grove, he spent a Sabbath at Somanoc, at Hough's, 
about three miles from Sandwich, preaching in the 
forenoon and evening. Many notes of interest are 
at hand concerning Brother Royal's work ; but 


they will more properly appear in connection with 
other charges. 

At the conference of 1836 one hundred and 
nineteen members were reported, and the mission 
was divided, the appointments constituting the Des 
Plaines and Sycamore Circuits, and the name dis- 
appears from the Minutes. Des Plaines, on which 
W. Wilcox traveled, we have already noted. Syc- 
amore (in 1836) received Stephen Arnold as 
preacher. He was a physician, who joined the con- 
ference this year. His name appears on the Min- 
utes of 1837 as preacher-in-charge of Sycamore Cir- 
cuit ; but for some reason he changed with L. S. 
Walker, and was on the Somanoc work. He ceased 
to travel in 1838, and soon after died. 

Sycamore in 1836 embraced all the appointments 
established by William Royal that Summer between 
Fox and Rock Rivers, from Blackberry to Roscoe. 
Dr. Arnold organized the class of four members at 
Chicken Grove in 1837. 

The work prospered this year (1837 to 1838) on 
Sycamore Circuit, with L. S. Walker to lead, and 
William Gaddis to lend a helping hand. John 
Clark was the presiding elder, and he had the ca- 
pacity of a general to keep all subordinates in 
moving order. The quarterly-meetings were great 
battle-scenes, where victory generally fell upon Is- 
rael's side. The first quarterly-meeting of the year 
was held at Roscoe, November 18 and 19, 1837. 
John Clark attended as elder. It was the first held 
anywhere in that part of the country. Elias Crary, 
of Chicken Grove, accompanied Elder Clark to this 


meeting. On their way across the trackless prai- 
ries they became surrounded by surging flames of 
prairie-fire, which rose so high at one time they 
scorched the whiskers on their faces. Many stacks 
of wheat and hay were consumed. The second 
quarterly-meeting was held in January, 1838. It 
was held in a log house, and the weather was so 
cold a bowl of water, standing on a table between 
the elder and the fire, froze over, the ice being as 
thick as window-glass. The third meeting was in 
Belvidere, April 27, 1838, the first ever held in 
that place. On Saturday the meetings were in a 
small log house, used as a school-room. On Sun- 
day they were moved to a frame building, just in- 
closed as a workshop. Elder Clark preached on 
Saturday at this first Belvidere quarterly-meeting, 
using as a text James i, 25 : " But whoso looketh 
into the perfect law of liberty/' etc. On Sunday 
morning he took for his text 2 Cor. viii, 9 : " For 
ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that 
though he was rich," etc. The fourth quarterly- 
meeting was held in Rockford, and was probably 
the first ever held in the place. It was held in a 
barn the first week in July, 1838. The circuit 
had been divided at the last conference; but it 
kept its members good, reporting one hundred and 

The next year (1838) Elihu Springer was ap- 
pointed to the Somanoc charge, which embraced 
the south-eastern part of the old Sycamore Circuit. 
Rockford Circuit had taken the western portion. 
In 1839 Rockford Circuit was divided, and Syca- 


more appeared again on the Minutes. Sycamore 
has ever since given name to a charge. 

Juliet (Joliet after 1847) gave name to a circuit 
in lg36, with S. R. Beggs and a supply named 
Turner, as^ preachers. It embraced about the same 
appointments as were included in the Des Plaines 
work the year before ; the name Des Plaines being 
given to an almost entirely new work, from Elgin 
to Chicago. The Juliet Circuit for 1836 embraced 
appointments from Reed's Grove, near Wilmington, 
to Lockport and Plainfield. The town of Juliet 
was originally laid out by Drummond Campbell in 
the month of June, 1834. At the time there were 
but two houses on the ground now occupied by the 
city. In July, 1835, including barns and shanties, 
there were about thirty buildings in town. 

S. R. Beggs preached to a small congregation in 
a private house the first Methodist sermon in the 
town, soon after it was laid out. In the Spring of 
1835 Rev. Mr. Prentice went to Juliet as mission- 
ary of the Presbyterian Home Mission Society, and 
a Sabbath-school was organized, chiefly under Pres- 
byterian influence, in August, 1835 ; but no Pres- 
byterian Church was organized until January 25, 
1§37. Some time in 1835, probably in the Spring, 
David Blackwell, who was on Des Plaines Mission, 
organized a class in the village, consisting of three 
or four members. Thomas Blackburn was leader, 
Cacherine Baker and Rachel Hobbs were members. 
There was a quarterly-meeting held at Joliet in 
February, 1836, and at the quarterly- meeting held 
at the Big Woods, near Batavia, in the Fall of 1836, 


Amos Wiley came up from Juliet class with a rec- 
ommendation for license to preach. At a quarterly- 
meeting of Des Plaines Circuit, held at Zarley's, 
on Spring Creek, commencing September 5, 1835, 
a committee was appointed " for the purpose of ob- 
taining a lot in the town of Juliet, in Cook County, 
for the purpose of erecting a Methodist church 
thereon." The committee were George West, James 
Steers, Aaron Moore, J. Reynolds, R. Zarley, A. 
Crowel, and James Walker. This movement did 
not originate in the necessity for a building to ac- 
commodate the society, but to provide for future 
needs ; for the Methodist preachers always worked 
with a full expectation of occupying the opening 
field. S. R. Beggs obtained a subscription to build 
a church during his year, which was commenced in 
1837, and inclosed before conference, so that the 
preachers preached in it. It was not finished, how- 
ever, until 1838. During the year there was a 
glorious camp-meeting on Hickory Creek. Sister 
Shoemaker, of Reed's Grove, was a member of the 
Church, but did not enjoy an evidence of her ac- 
ceptance. All through this camp-meeting she strug- 
gled to get into light ; but the meeting closed with 
little change for the better. The company in wag- 
ons struck a line across the prairie homeward, sing- 
ing and praying as they went. Brother Shoemaker 
was driving his own team. He heard all at once an 
unusual shout behind him in the wagon. God had 
powerfully converted his wife. Shoemaker shouted 
" Glory to God !» dropped the lines, and fell back- 
ward. His horses, being on their way home, were 


soon at the top of their speed, the whole load lying 
flat in the wagon. The horses ran four or five miles 
before they were stopped. 

This was a successful year, both in conversions 
and additions to the Church. Mr. Beggs reported 
two hundred and thirty-seven members at the close 
of the year, being nearly as many as were on the 
large Des Plaines Circuit the year before. A church 
was commenced at Plainfield, which, however, was 
not finished until 1838. The second quarterly- 
meeting for the year was held at Joliet, February 
18, 1837. The following members were present at 
the quarterly conference : Henry Whitehead, George 
West, J. Foster, and A. M. S. Comstock, local 
preachers ; Wm. Brewer, Isaiah Shaw, and Francis 
Owen, exhorters. The third quarterly-meeting was 
held at Owen's camp-ground, July 8th ; the fourth 
at Joliet, September 2, 1837. At the last quarterly- 
meeting, provision was made for three circuits, and 
their bounds fixed. They were called Juliet, Forked 
Creek, and Thornton. At the conference of 1837 
William S. Crissey was appointed to Joliet. Mr. 
Crissey was a fine man, a good preacher and pastor, 
with much business tact, who had joined the Illinois 
Conference in 1830. This was his first year in our 
bounds. He continued two years on Joliet Circuit, 
and in 1839 took a superannuated relation, and on 
the division of the conference in 1840 fell into the 
Illinois Conference, and appeared no more in the 
bounds of the Rock River Conference. In 1849 he 
located, and in 1868 he was in some kind of busi- 
ness in Chicago. 


The third quarterly-meeting for the year begin- 
ning in 1837 was held in the new church in Joliet, 
May 25, 1838. The first sermon was by Brother 
Goodrich, on Friday night. John Clark, on Sab- 
bath, preached a sermon on Universalism. The 
subject had been announced beforehand, and the 
house was crowded to overflowing. He spoke for 
two hours and a quarter to a deeply attentive crowd. 
The church was not yet completed. The Tuesday 
before the meeting nothing but the siding and roof 
was on. On Friday night the house was inclosed, 
and, with loose plank for a floor and boards for 
benches, the early Methodists held their jubilee in 
the now puissant city. This church was used as an 
engine-house in 1857, and stood near the Rock 
Island Railroad depot. At the last quarterly-meet- 
ing three Sunday-schools were reported, having 
twenty-two officers and teachers and one hundred 
and twelve scholars. One of these was at Joliet, 
another at Aaron More's, the third at Owen's. From 
the Joliet work, which was now small, one hundred 
and eighty-eight members were reported in 1838, 
and W. S. Crissey returned to the circuit, with 
Asbury Chenowith as assistant preacher. 

Asbury Chenowith was received into the Illi- 
nois Conference in 1836, and had traveled previous 
to coming to Joliet in the Wabash country. The 
year following (1839) he was appointed to Green 
Bay. In 1840 he located. During the year, the 
two churches begun in 1837 at Plainfield and Joliet 
were finished, and there was some success in the 
general work, the preachers reporting two hundred 


and twenty-five members. In 1839 W. Weigley 
was appointed to the circuit. 

The Forked Creek Mission, which was formed 
from a portion of the Joliet Circuit in 1837, re- 
ceived S. R. Beggs as preacher, and included the 
territory indicated by the following appointments: 
Winchester ; Forked Creek ; south side the Kan- 
kakee, at R. W. Stewart's; Widow Carothers's; 
Williams's ; a school-house at Reed's Grove ; and 
Beardstown, on the Kankakee. John Frazure was 
leader at Forked Creek, where there were fifty-four 
members ; at Reed's Grove there were twenty-nine 
members. The Summer of 1838 was a sickly season. 
There were but few members on the circuit, and 
they were generally poor, and quarterage was light. 
" But," says their preacher of that year, " they had 
big souls." There was a camp-meeting at Reed's 
Grove. John Clark preached once, and left, throw- 
ing the care of the meeting upon Brother Beggs. 
The meeting went on gloriously, and by Monday 
morning nearly every sinner around had been for- 
ward for prayers. Brother Shoemaker and George 
Linebarger and some good brethren from Forked 
Creek were present as faithful laborers, and the 
Lord was present to heal. " Such displays of di- 
vine power I have seldom witnessed," says Brother 
Beggs. The year closed with one hundred and ten 

The next year (1838) the name was changed to 
Wilmington, called thus after one of the main ap- 
pointments, and Milton Bourne appointed to the 
work. Wilmington became a town in 1838, but 


not being in a situation to thrive, remained a feeble 
burg, like too many of our Illinois towns, until 
1854. Then the Alton Railway was built through 
the place, and it began to take an upward start. 
The circuit embraced all the neighborhood along 
the Kankakee River, from Channahon to Momence. 

Mr. Bourne was followed in 1839 by William 
Vallette, who, on account of sickness, superan- 
nuated in 1848, and settled at Elgin as a physician. 
Mr. Vallette was a warm-hearted man, of devoted 
life, and his revivals along the Kankakee River, 
where many prominent persons were converted, are 
remembered till this day. He was admitted into 
the Illinois Conference in 1839, and continued to 
travel in the bounds of the Rock River Conference 
until he retired in 1848, being appointed to Proph- 
etstown in 1840; Elgin, 1841, Crystal Lake, 1843; 
McHenry, 1844; and Mt. Morris in 1846. He be- 
gan at Wilmington with ninety-six members, and 
ended the year with one hundred and seventy-eight. 
Enfeebled by sickness and age, he removed with his 
sons to Kansas in 1870, where he died February 
7, 1872. 

Thornton Mission, the other work that was 
set off from the Joliet Circuit in 1837, received M. 
Bourne as preacher, and included appointments in 
the regions around Crete and Thornton, on Thorn 
Creek, down to Lockport. There were but few 
members, and the work of the preacher was almost 
entirely that of exploring. Fifty-four members 
were, however, reported to conference. In 1838 
the name was changed to Crete, and Jesse Halsted, 


who traveled several years thereafter in Wisconsin, 
was appointed to the charge. Mr. Halsted was fol- 
lowed in 1839 by a man supplied by the elder, and 
in 1840 Crete, as a separate charge, went out of 
sight, to reappear again thirteen years after. 

Des Plaines Circuit was divided in 1837, and 
that portion lying along Fox River east, nearly to 
Chicago, was called Dupage. W. Wilcox, who 
had been on the Des Plaines Circuit the year be- 
fore, and R. W. Clark were appointed to the work. 
This Brother Clark had been admitted on trial the 
year before, and appointed to Marion, in Central 
Illinois. He traveled, after this, Winchester Cir- 
cuit in 1838, and in 1839 located. 

From the territory of this circuit, where are now 
so many of our fine appointments, in 1838 two 
hundred and sixty-one members were reported — a 
large number for one circuit in that early time, but a 
small number compared with those who are working 
now in those old limits. In 1838 W. Wilcox was 
returned to the work, with William Gaddis as col- 
league. Elgin Circuit had been organized; with 
this exception the circuit was about the same as be- 
fore. The same number of members as the last 
year was reported, which, if we report those from 
Elgin, make for the old circuit five hundred and 
forty-four. The next year, 1839, William Kimball 
was sent on as preacher in charge, and William 
Gaddis continued as junior. 

William Kimball commenced traveling in the 
New England Conference in 1828, and was ap- 
pointed to Bristol, New Hampshire (Bristol, Illinois, 



was his last appointment in the regular work). He 
was afterwards appointed to Rochester and Barnard, 
in Vermont, and in 1833 located. He was re- 
admitted into the New England Conference and 
appointed to Gill and Thomson, and in 1837 located 
to come West. He was readmitted into the Illinois 
Conference in 1839 and appointed, as we have seen, 
to Dupage. He was naturally a warm-hearted man 
of an ardent and impulsive temperament, and was 
carried away with the Wesleyan movement of 
1840-43, and in 1842 located in order to join the 
Wesleyan Church. He resided afterward near 
Wheatou, Illinois, and was an active worker in the 
Wesleyan cause, and one of the chief agents in 
originating and supporting the Wesleyan Institute 
at Wheaton, an institution which by some manage- 
ment went to the Congregationalists in 1860. In 
1853 Father Kimball left the Wesleyans and re- 
turned to the Church of his early choice, and in 
1857 was employed by the elder on Chicken Grove 
Circuit. What a multitude of faithful men these 
radical (Protestant, Wesleyan, and Nazarite) move- 
ments have carried away by their pernicious influ- 
ences! Usefulness and influence all gone, they live 
to destroy the Church that nursed them into spirit- 
ual life. Brother Kimball was still, in 1868, a mem- 
ber of the Methodist Church, residing at Wheaton, 
in his seventy -eighth year, fifty-fourth of his minis- 
try, and fifty-eighth of his Christian life. 

Mr. Kimball traveled the Dupage Circuit, com- 
mencing in 1839, and "had," as he says, "glorious 
good times in the way of the conversion of sinners." 


The circuit was about seventy miles around, with 
nine Sabbath appointments. The first Sabbath the 
preachers preached in the morning at St. Charles, 
in the afternoon at Geneva, and in the evening at 
Batavia; the second Sabbath at Big Woods in the 
morning, Aurora in the afternoon and evening; the 
third Sabbath at Naperville in the morning, at 
Cass Point in the afternoon, and in the evening 
somewhere near by; the fourth Sabbath at Gary's 
mill in the morning, and Babcock's Grove in the 
afternoon. Besides there were many week-day ap- 
pointments. The outlines were from St. Charles to 
Aurora, thence to Naperville, thence to Salt Creek, 
thence to the Des Plaines River, back by Babcock's 
Grove to St. Charles. This work they rode on 
horseback, "hearty, happy, and well." During the 
first year about seventy were added to the Church ; 
the second year about one hundred, nearly all new 
converts. The revivals were most successful at Au- 
rora, Big Woods, Gary's mill, and at Warrenville. 
James Selkrig, who afterwards went to the Wes- 
leyans, and was, in 1856, a spiritualist lecturer, and 
in 1865 a member of the Baptist Church at Wau- 
kegan, where we trust he is resting his unquiet 
spirit, was the assistant preacher the second year. 
The preaching in most places was in private houses 
built of logs, the congregations coming on foot, on 
sleds, and in ox wagons. The quarterly-meetings 
were attended by people who came twenty and thirty 

There were four camp-meetings during the two 
years Mr. Kimball was on the Dupage Circuit, over 


all of which John Clark presided with great ac- 
ceptance. The first was on Poplar Creek, near 
Elgin. The work went beyond all control. Brother 
Kimball baptized some six or eight, and on march- 
ing from the water back to camp two or three old 
men, hardened sinners, began to cry aloud for mercy, 
and attempted to run off the ground, but fell pros- 
trate to the earth. This affected the crowd, so that 
a general conviction fell on the people. There 
were cries going up to God from convicted sinners, 
and shouts from new born souls. The remainder 
of that day was occupied with this most interesting 
work. This was in the Summer of 1838; the 
greater meeting was reserved for 1839. 

The accommodations were about alike all over 
the conference. The preachers preached in log 
houses about twelve by fourteen, with one or two 
beds in a room used for seats. The children would 
perch themselves on the ladder rounds, and boards 
were laid on chairs for the older people. The 
preacher used a chair for a desk and was generally 
penned in one corner. We remember preaching in 
such a place at Mineral Point, where the people 
were standing looking in our face within arm's 
length. The congregations were not so large as 
now, but the houses were full. 




IN 1838 the northern portion of the Dupage Cir- 
cuit was set off into a new charge, which from 
the main appointment was called Elgin Circuit. 
From that time Elgin has not ceased to appear 
regularly on the minutes. Some time in the Sum- 
mer of 1836 one or two families by the name of 
Hammer settled at Hoosier Grove, four miles east 
of Elgin, and an appointment was established there 
soon after. 

William Royal, when on the Fox River Mission 
in 1836, explored the country east of Elgin, organ- 
izing classes and establishing appointments; among 
others the class at Hoosier Grove was organized by 
him. There were seven members, whose names 
were Joseph Russel, Sen., and wife, Joseph Russel, 
Jr., and wife, George Hammer, Rebecca and Eliza- 
beth Hammer. The class was left for a time with- 
out a regularly appointed leader, but Brother Ham- 
mer served for a time in that capacity. Early in 
1837 Brother Burritt was appointed leader. This 
was in some sense the beginning of the Elgin 
Church. W. Wilcox, who supplied the newly 
formed Des Plaines Circuit in 1836, entered upon 
his work in December, and preached in Elgin, De- 


cember 12, 1836. This was probably the first 
Methodist sermon in that town. The text was 
Psalm lxiii, 2 : " To see thy power and thy glory 
so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary." Brother 
Wilcox established a regular appointment, and on 
his regular rounds preached in the village January 
9th and 23d, February 20th, April 17th, May 15th, 
June 12th, July 10th, August 7th, and September 
4th. At his visit June 12, 1837, he organized the 
Elgin class at Solomon Hamilton's. 

S. Hamilton was born in New England in 1773, 
and was brought up a Calvinist, but was early led 
to Christ through the labors of the first Methodists. 
He made a profession of religion for seventy years. 
Coming to Elgin in 1836 he at once became a lead- 
ing man in Methodism, and was an official member 
in different capacities until his death at Elgin, June 
20, 1857, at which time he was eighty-four years of 
age. Mr. Wilcox had a year of severe labor, but 
was enabled to report two hundred and eighty-two 
members at its close. When the Elgin Circuit was 
formed in 1838 Hiram W. Frink and Jonathan M. 
Snow were sent on as preachers. 

H. W. Fkink was received into the Illinois 
Conference in 1837, and appointed to Sheboygan, 
in Wisconsin. In 1839 he went to Watertown, in 
1840 to Summit, in 1841 to Sycamore, and in 1842 
he was again appointed to work in Wisconsin, and 
has ever since filled appointments in the bounds of 
that State. 

J. M. Snow was born in Montpelier, Vermont, 
October 30, 1809, and at seventeen years of age 


embraced religion and joined the Methodist Church. 
In 1838 he was admitted into the Illinois Confer- 
ence. He had been for some time previous en- 
gaged in mercantile business at Racine. He con- 
tinued to travel until 1852, being appointed to 
Princeton, Mt. Morris, Geneva, Washington, Sylva- 
nia, Troy, Janesville, Mineral Point, and Madison, 
all but the first two in Wisconsin. Some time in 
1852 he got into some difficulties with his confer- 
ence, which caused him to locate. Six years passed 
and he was readmitted and placed in a superannu- 
ated relation, and thereafter he lived most of the 
time in Chicago. His lungs became affected while 
on the Sylvania Circuit, and his health continued 
to fail until his death, which occurred in Chicago, 
April, 1862. When asked as to his prospects he 
began quoting, — 

"Happy if with my latest breath, 
I may but gasp His name," 

and ere he finished the verse he ceased to live on 
earth. He was a man of sterling character, earnest, 
persevering, efficient, yet being ardent in manner 
he often came in contact with opposing forces in a 
manner that sometimes caused friction. He per- 
formed for years noble pioneer work. 

The Elgin Circuit was about forty miles square, 
with thirty-two appointments to be filled every two 
weeks. H. W. Frink was a single man, and boarded 
at Brother Filkins's, at Wheeling ; J. M. Snow lived 
on Poplar Creek, two miles east of Elgin. The cir- 
cuit embraced all the country in Illinois between 


Fox River and the lake, north of a line from St. 
Charles to Chicago. 

The first part of the year they held meetings at 
Solomon Hamilton's, one-half a mile north-west of 
Elgin, on the west side. The members were Solo- 
mon Hamilton and wife ; Harvey Hamilton and 
Father Hamilton's daughter; a local preacher, 
Sherman by name, and wife, who lived three miles 
north-west, whose daughter was Mrs. Adams, of 
Beloit, so well known at camp - meetings ; and 
Brother Todd and wife. In the Summer of 1839 
the preaching was removed to the East Side. The 
local preachers on this circuit were John Nason, 
Caleb Lamb, Mark Noble, and Brother Sherman. 

Brothers Frink and Snow together held a meet- 
ing in a large double house on Poplar Creek, com- 
mencing March 10, 1839. The leader said they 
could have no revival until the claim difficulties 
were settled. They went to work, however, and 
during two weeks there were about thirty sound 
conversions. It was a meeting of great power, old 
and young sharing its benefits. They soon selected 
a place near by for a camp-ground, and at once 
dedicated it to God. The committee was composed 
of Baptists, Presbyterians, and Methodists. The 
meeting commenced the 23d June, and did not 
close until July 3d. The preacher in charge was 
alone the first two days. After this they had plenty 
of ministerial help, the following ministers being 
present : John Clark, presiding elder ; Peter Borein, 
W. S. Crissey, Frink and Snow, William Gaddis, 
James McKean, S. P. Keyes, L. S. Walker, N. Jew- 


ett, A. Chenowith, Elihu Springer, Isaac Scarritt, 
William Kimball, and Asa White. The weather 
was bad, and most of the services were held in the 
Chicago tent, which held three hundred persons. 
This was the largest tent many present had ever 
seen, and was reported to be a mainsail from a Brit- 
ish vessel taken in the War of 1812. Chicago was 
well represented in the meeting. It was not long 
after the great revival under Peter Borein, " who," 
says H. W. Frink, " was one of the most eloquent 
men I ever knew." Mr. and Mrs. Garrett, who had 
lately been converted, were present, and were very 
efficient laborers. " Mr. Garrett, with streaming 
eyes, would address the large congregation, and 
thank God for the Gospel of Christ and the doc- 
trines of Wesley." Over one hundred persons 
spoke in the Sunday morning love-feast. On Sab- 
bath evening many were the slain of the Lord. 
The wicked fell as men slain in battle. There were 
during this meeting of eleven days over one hun- 
dred conversions, and a mission collection of sixty 
dollars was taken at one time. After this camp- 
meeting held on Poplar Creek, the meetings in 
Elgin were moved to a small frame chapel on the 
East Side. They preached in this for a short time, 
and then received notice to quit, when the preachers 
went into a grove near by to preach. 

During the Summer of 1839 measures were taken 
to build a church. There was but one church on the 
circuit, and that was a small frame at Mark Noble's, 
built in 1839. The Elgin church was completed 

within a year ; but it was not more than twenty-four 



by thirty-two feet in size, the same which, after 
being enlarged once or twice, was used till 1866. 

In 1839 John Nason and J. M. Snow were the' 
Elgin preachers. John Nason came from the 
New England Conference, and joined the Illinois 
in 1838. He located in 1843, and died at Rockford 
in 1865. The year passed without any thing of 
note occurring ; but there must have been prosper- 
ous times, for four hundred members were reported 
at conference. 

Rockford Circuit appeared first in 1838, with 
L. S. Walker and Nathan Jewett as the preachers. 
The work included the north-western portion of the 
last year's Sycamore Circuit, and extended from 
Marengo to McHenry, and from those points to 
Beloit and Rockford. The appointments were at 
Rockford ; at the mouth of the KisliAvaukie ; New- 
burg ; Belvidere ; Enoch's ; Roscoe ; Beloit ; Lin- 
derman's, six miles east of Beloit ; Round Prairie ; 
Stevenson's ; Diggins Settlement (now Harvard) ; 
Towers ; Disbro's (now Alden) ; Richmond ; En- 
glish Prairie; Duffield's; Virginia Settlement; 
Crystal Lake ; Deats (now Belden) ; White's Mill ; 
and Pleasant Grove (now Marengo). The meetings 
were all held in private houses, except at Rockford, 
Round Prairie, and Crystal Lake. They were so 
far advanced in prosperity at these places as to have 
school-houses to worship in. The one at Round 
Prairie was built of poplar poles, however. 

In the Summer of 1834 Mr. Germanicus Kent 
and Mr. Thatcher Blake, leaving Galena, made 
their way from Hamilton Diggins down the Peca- 


tonica in some kind of a boat to Rock River, and 
down that river to Rockford, where they made 
claims. They were the first whites who came to 
Winnebago County. 

Leaving the site of the present most beautiful 
city of Rockford, they went on down the river to 
Dixon's Ferry, from whence they returned to Ga- 
lena by the Wabash and Galena road. In the Fall 
Mr. Kent returned to Rockford with Mr. Blake 
and his negro man Lewis, who had formerly been 
his slave in Alabama. They built a cabin in South 
Rockford. Mr. David S. Haight, from Onondaga 
County, New York, arrived with his family, May 
1, 1835, and settled on the East Side, near the 
north-east corner of Main and State Streets. This 
was the first family that settled in Rockford, and 
Mrs. Haight was the first white female settler in 
the country, probably, for fifty miles. During the 
same month Mr. Kent brought his family to Rock- 
ford. The trees planted by Mrs. Kent's hand are 
still growing (1865). During the Summer of 1835 
a large number of immigrants settled near the place. 
The town was at first called Midway, because half- 
way between Galena and Chicago. The beautiful 
ford across a bed of rock finally gave it the name 
it bears. It was sometimes called " Rockriverford." 
The land on which the city stands was purchased 
of the government for $1.25 an acre in 1843. The 
first store was opened in 1836 by J. A. Vance, an 
agent for Mr. Taylor, of Chicago. The first tavern 
was opened by Henry Thurston in 1837. The first 
postmaster was D. S. Haight, and the first school- 


teacher a Miss Brown. The first public religious 
services held in Rockford were conducted at the 
house of G. Kent, by his brother, Aratus Kent, 
a Presbyterian minister, then laboring in Galena. 
This occurred in June, 1835. There was a congre- 
gation of seventeen persons, all from the families 
of Mr. Kent and Mr. Haight. A few Methodist fam- 
ilies arrived with the immigrants of 1835. Samuel 
Gregory, the first class-leader, and in whose house 
the first Methodist society in Rockford was organ- 
ized, settled there in the Fall of 1835, and in June, 
1836, his family came. Eliphalet Gregory arrived 
in 1835, and his family July 4, 1836. The first 
Methodist preaching in the country was at the house 
of Mr. Henry Enoch, in June, 1836, by William 
Royal, who was then on Fox River Mission. This 
house had but one room, and was sixteen by twenty 
feet in size, and stood about eight miles north-east 
of Rockford. The first sermon was in June. In 
July Brother Royal came again. Samuel Gregory 
and wife went up from Rockford in an ox-wagon, 
to hear the Gospel by one of their own kind of 
preachers. After preaching, the preacher and all 
his congregation took dinner together. This was 
Sunday. The next day Brother Royal went to 
Rockford to visit the Methodists there. He organ- 
ized a class, consisting of Samuel Gregory, leader; 
his wife, Joanna Gregory ; Daniel Beers and his 
wife, Mary Beers, who lived two or three miles 
east of the river ; and Mrs. Mary Enoch. This 
occurred September 2, 1836, when Brother Royal 
was on his last round on his circuit, and on his 


way to conference. According to the best accounts 
we can get, Brother Royal never preached in Rock- 
ford. The organization just mentioned took place 
in a log house nearly a mile east of the river, near 
the Galena Railway. After this, prayer and class 
meetings were held every Sabbath morning at 
Samuel Gregory's, and prayer-meetings in the after- 
noon at Daniel Beers's. For two years the appoint- 
ments were regularly filled by the preachers on 
Sycamore Circuit, and one of the quarterly-meetings 
of Sycamore Circuit was held in a barn at Rock- 
ford in July, 1838. Stephen Arnold, who went to 
Sycamore Circuit in 1836, preached very seldom in 
Rockford, probably not more than two or three 
times, owing to high water and the fact that there 
were no bridges. Whenever he did preach, it was 
in S. Gregory's log house. The Congregational 
Church was organized May 5, 1837, and the Baptist, 
December 22, 1838. 

In 1837 William Gaddis and Robert Lane, two 
Irishmen, were appointed to Sycamore Circuit. Mr. 
Lane preached but a short time when he gave place 
to L. S. Walker, who had been sent to Somanoc. 
During the year a room was secured for preaching 
in an unfinished house belonging to D. S. Haight. 
This was in a large frame house near Mr. Haight's 
original log cabin. It was but a temporary arrange- 
ment permitted by Mr. Haight until his house was 
ready for occupying. L. S. Walker says: "I 
preached in the house of Mr. Boswell in 1838, his 
house being our chapel for the Summer. Our next 
place of worship was in a house used for a school, 


which stood near where the American House now 
stands. A parsonage was built this season, which 
I moved into in the Fall of 1838 — the second built 
in the bounds of the Rock River Conference." It 
still stands on the north-west corner of the Park, an 
old low browji house. During the year 1838-39 
the meetings were held in a building used for a 
court-house, printing office, and church. During 
the year there was prosperity. In one neighbor- 
hood previous to May, 1839, where there were fif- 
teen families, at a place where three years before 
there was not a white inhabitant, every person over 
ten years, of age found peace in believing. The 
third quarterly-meeting was held May 5th (we know 
not where). They had a jubilee, with John Clark, 
presiding elder, Peter R. Borein, "W. S. Crissey, 
and T. S. Hitt to aid in the cheerful work. Up to 
May the preacher in charge reported that he had 
received by letter and on probation one hundred 
and eighty members, reporting at conference three 
hundred and ninety-five members. This was a 
large number, but remember the circuit extended 
from Rockford to Fox River. 

In 1839 the circuit was divided, leaving all the 
appointments from Round Prairie to Fox River on 
Crystal Lake Circuit, and from Beloit to Belvidere 
on Roscoe Circuit, and Rockford was made a half 
station, with Nathan Jewett as preacher. It was 
not yet reduced to the size of our petty stations, 
for it had at the close of the year one hundred and 
eighty-five members. During the Winter of 1840 
there was a gracious revival under N. Jewett, and a 


large number were added to the Church. During 
the Summer of 1840 a camp-meeting was held three 
miles east of Rockford. John Clark being at Gen- 
eral Conference, Alexander Irvine took charge of 
the meeting. About one hundred persons were 

The Roscoe Circuit, which was formed in 1839 
from a portion of the Rockford Circuit, received 
Milton Bourne as preacher. The appointments dur- 
ing the year were at Roscoe, Beloit, Waterloo, 
Rockton (then called Pecatonica), Belvidere, the 
half-way house between Rockford and Belvidere, 
Linderman's, and half a dozen other appointments. 

The country in the vicinity of Roscoe began to 
be settled in 1836. Henry Abell, a member of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church from Chautauqua 
County, New York, came that year, he being the 
first Methodist that located in the place. About 
the same time some three or four others settled near 
the town, among whom were Franklin Abell, Smith 
Jenks, and John Lovesee, father of Rev. George 
Lovesee. In the Spring of 1837 Steven Arnold, 
then on Sycamore Circuit, went among the settlers 
and organized a class. Smith Jenks was appointed 
leader. The second visit of Steven Arnold was 
September 3, 1837, when he preached again, re- 
ceived additional members, and appointed Franklin 
Abell, leader. Prior to this last named visit Al- 
bert T. Tuttle, a local preacher, preached regularly 
to the people. From September, 1837, the place 
was considered in the bounds of the regular work. 
The meetings were held in the log cabins of Broth- 


ers Abell, Tuttle, and Jenks. One of the quarterly- 
meetings of Sycamore Circuit was held at Roscoe, 
November 18, 1837, which was the first quarterly- 
meeting held in that part of the country. 

At Beloit Brother Bourne found a small class, 
and having a good revival during the year he left 
there a society of twenty members. The class had 
been organized by L. S. Walker the year before. 
When Brother Bourne first went on the circuit, 
being a young man of a not very assuming appear- 
ance, an official member (we believe belonging at 
Roscoe) met him and told him he was not such a 
man as they wanted, and he might as well leave the 
circuit. Mr. Bourne answered that he was sent to 
the charge by the bishop, and he expected to fill 
the appointments given him. One year ended and 
Brother Bourne's return being requested, he passed 
two profitable years on the work. 

Freeport gave name to a circuit in 1838, and 
had that year James McKean and J. Gilham as 
preachers. Methodism was first introduced into 
Stephenson County by J. McKean in 1835, when he 
was on the Buffalo Grove Circuit, and many of the 
present societies that have existed from the early 
day were organized by that faithful pioneer. Three 
men seem to have been the organizers about the 
time (1836) that the country was permanently set- 
tled — S. R. Beggs, from the lake to Fox River; 
William Royal, from Fox to Rock Rivers; and J. 
McKean, from Rock River West. 

In the Fall of 1835 Mr. Waddam, the pioneer 
settler from whom Waddam's Grove took its name, 


visited Dixon on business. He there fell in with 
James McKean, who had just come on to the Buf- 
falo Grove Circuit. In conversation Mr. Waddam 
mentioned the name of Montague. After inquiry 
Mr. McKean found the Montagues were old ac- 
quaintances of his, and he immediately started off 
to visit them. He reached the cabin of Luman 
Montague and received a hearty welcome, because 
both of old acquaintance and his being a minister 
of the Gospel. There were but three or four fam- 
ilies in the neighborhood; these were notified, and 
Sunday morning the scattered people gathered to 
the place appointed for preaching. A number of 
persons from the mines were in the grove hunting, 
who hearing of the preaching came also, so that in 
all there were about twenty persons present. But 
the attendance far exceeded the expectations of all 
parties. To that congregation in the log house of 
Luman Montague, which was but sixteen feet square, 
in November, 1835, James McKean preached the 
first sermon in the region of country now included 
in Stephenson County. The preacher was filled with 
missionary fire, and the occasion was hailed as the 
first Gospel day in that part of the frontier. 

Until the conference of 1836 Mr. McKean kept 
on exploring the country around Freeport, and in 
that year a circuit was formed, called " Picatolica," 
to which Thomas W. Pope was appointed as preacher. 
The circuit embraced all the country from Rock 
River to Galena, and extended north into Wiscon- 
sin Territory. One of the preaching places was at 
the house of a local preacher by the name of Har- 


court, or Haircoat. Luman Montague's, at Wad- 
dam's Grove, was another preaching place. Other 
preaching places were on Sugar River, near the 
Campbell settlement, at Horace D. Colburn's, and 
on Silver Creek. Henry Summers was presiding 
elder, but could hardly collect enough to make a 
quarterly-meeting, the members were so scattered. 
Mr. Pope made about four rounds on his circuit dur- 
ing the year. James McKean after serving on the 
Buffalo Grove work two years went to Picatolica 
in 1837. The circuit required five hundred miles 
travel each round, and it was from thirty to forty 
miles between some of the appointments. Mr. Mc- 
Kean did not leave regular appointments, but would 
go into a neighborhood and during the day visit 
each family and give out meeting for the evening. 
His rule was to visit one day, preach at night, ride 
next morning to the next preaching place, visit and 
preach, thus laboring around his work, publishing 
his appointments from house to house. He would 
be from six weeks to two months going around. 

In the Summer of 1838 Brother McKean held a 
camp-meeting near Cedarville, three miles north of 
Freeport. John Crummer, from Bellevue, Iowa, 
B. Weed, presiding elder, T. S. Hitt, and Robert 
Delap, were present as preachers. The leading 
members of the mission were Luman Montague, 
Rodney Montague, Father Curtis, Rev. F.D. Bulkly, 
H. D. Colburn, G. W. Clingman, Levi Robie, Eli 
Frankeberger, and A. Goddard. Mr. McKean's 
salary was small ; less than one hundred dollars 
was received. In 1838 the name of the circuit was 


changed to Freeport, and J. McKean continued on the 
work. In 1839 Samuel Pillsbury was put in charge 
of the extensive work. In 1839 there was but one 
family on the present site of Freeport; this was the 
family of William Baker. The place was a very 
small village until the railroads reached it, when it at 
once sprung up into a thriving city. It was prob- 
ably laid out in 1838, as it gave name to the cir- 
cuit that year. In 1839 Mr. Pillsbury and his 
colleague preached at Freeport, in the house of W. 
W. Buck, who was leader, and who joined confer- 
ence in 1841 ; at Robie's settlement, now Cedar- 
ville, in a log school-house, where Isaiah Clingman 
was class-leader; Rock Grove, in Eli Frankeberger's 
house, Brother Wirt, leader; at Spring Grove, in 
Thomas Judkins's house, no class ; at Aaron Baker's 
house; Edwin Smith's house, John Richey, leader; 
Dr. Emory's house, Emory, leader; Newman Camp- 
bell's house, where W. H. Bo wen was leader; 
at A. Crane's ; Nathan Varnie's, which two appoint- 
ments were moved to Durand in 1857; at John 
Mason's, near Harrison ; at James Phillips's ; at Man- 
chester settlement, in a log school-house, where 
Isaac Hance was leader; at Twelve Mile Grove, in 
the house of R. Robinson, who was leader ; at New 
Mexico, Wisconsin, sometimes in Robert Delap's 
house, sometimes at E. Austin's; at Richland Tim- 
ber, at John Carnes's house ; at Daniel Harcourt's ; 
at Union, iu Boyd Phelps's house; at Griffin's 
Grove; at Ballenger's settlement, at Gaffin's house; 
at Curtis's settlement; at Waddam's Grove, in Lu- 
man Montague's house, Montague being leader; at 


Willow Creek, in Rev. H. Giddings's house; and at 
Snyder's settlement. The preachers preached almost 
every day. Brother Pillsbury held two camp-meet- 
ings the first year on this work, in the Summer of 
1840. They were most glorious. The first was in 
Richland Timber, on Rev. Daniel Harcourt's land. 
It commenced about the first of July. One hun- 
dred were converted, and eighty joined the Church. 
The preachers present were W. Wilcox, T. S. Hitt, 
Robert Delap, and B. Weed. The second meeting 
commenced about the 8th of August, in Campbell's 
Grove, near Durand, where there were about as 
many conversions as -at the first. Between three 
and four hundred were converted during the two 
years Brother Pillsbury was on the circuit; among 
the converts were six or eight preachers. F. C. 
Winslow, an influential local preacher living for 
many years at Freeport, John Hartsough, Elisha 
Hartsough, J. P. Randolph, John Malony, and Asa 
Wood, who afterwards traveled as a member of 
conference in Wisconsin, were of the number. The 
circuit at this time owned an old house near Cedar 
Creek, in which Brother Pillsbury lived. In 1840 
there were four hundred members. In 1841 R. A. 
Blanchard and A. M. Early were appointed to the 
Freeport Circuit. The charge remained about the 
same in size, with several new appointments. It 
was a prosperous year, there being about one hun- 
dred and fifty conversions. 

There was a fine meeting at Robie's (now Cedar- 
ville). A man lived near, by the name of Edwards, 
who seldom went to meeting, and who, at forty years 


of age, said he had never prayed in his life. Him- 
self and wife attended the meetings at Robie's. The 
wife was soon converted, and pushed for her hus- 
band. He pushed her away, and told her not to 
make a fool of herself. The next day he was struck 
under powerful conviction, and went alone to pray. 
He would not attend meeting in the evening. The 
wife went, leaving him alone; but when it was 
dark, he became afraid the devil would have him 
before his wife returned. To stay at home he dared 
not, and, cutting a club, set out for the meeting, 
and going into the house, he seated himself within 
eight feet of Brother Blanchard. The text for the 
evening was, "Awake, thou that sleepest!" Ed- 
wards arose to go forward, but reeled and staggered. 
His eyes glaring frightfully, he exclaimed, " Dark ! 
dark !" and fell to the floor in groans of" agony. 
The company bowed in prayer, and the agonizing 
sinner became at first calm, and then a heavenly 
smile lit up his countenance. He arose and said, 
" One thing I know : whereas I was once blind, 
I now see." He remained faithful many years, and 
then died. 

Mr. Blanchard's receipts for the year, when ev- 
ery thing was counted, amounted to fifty dollars, of 
which only twelve dollars was cash. He had just 
come from the East, where he had hosts of friends, 
and as letters cost twenty-five cents postage, he paid 
nine dollars postage-bill, leaving three dollars in 
cash for other purposes. In the Summer of 1842 
the lot on which the Methodist church now stands 
in Freeport was purchased for fifteen dollars. The 


prominent Methodists in the place then were B. 
Thatcher, Brother Waddell, Julius Smith, \V. W. 
Buck, and H. Henry, a local preacher. The preach- 
ers preached in the court-house, which was the only 
good preaching-place on the whole circuit. Two or 
three log school-houses were, however, erected about 
this time, in which were held some of the most pow- 
erful meetings. In 1843 the stewards of the Free- 
port Circuit were Brothers Wilcoxon, G. W. Cling- 
man, Julius Smith, and Peter Van Sickle. The 
first class in Freeport was organized by S. Pills- 
bury. The members lived for three miles around, 
each way, and were about ten in number. W. "W. 
Buck was the first leader. A church was com- 
menced under direction of J. F. Devore in 1852, 
but was not completed until 1854, when Henry 
Whipple was on the charge. It was dedicated at a 
quarterly-meeting of which Luke Hitchcock had 
charge. Silas Bolles preached at half-past ten 
o'clock on Sunday, presenting Christ as the founda- 
tion of the Church. L. Hitchcock preached in the 
evening from Isaiah lx, 1 : " Arise, shine, for thy 
light is come." The indebtedness was f 2,500, which 
was raised by subscription during the day. This 
was the 29th of October, 1854, that one of the best 
churches in the' conference was thus dedicated to 




CRYSTAL LAKE, though an unimportant place, 
gave a name to a new circuit in 1839. It was 
made up of the eastern portion of the Rockford 
Circuit of the year before, and included all the 
country from Fox River to Round Prairie, in Boone 
County, taking in the Marengo and Harmony 
charges. The preachers for 1839 were L. S. Walker 
and Ora A. Walker, who was received into confer- 
ence this year. The appointments were at Crystal 
Lake, where there was a village and a school-house ; 
at Deats's, near where Franklinville or Belden now 
is ; Pleasant Grove, a mile south of where Marengo 
stands ; Round Prairie ; Harmony ; Virginia Set- 
tlement, north of Woodstock; Diggins Settlement, 
a mile south of Harvard ; Queen Ann ; and Mc- 
Henry. The first quarterly-meeting of the circuit 
was held at Round Prairie, November 4, 1839; 
John Clark, presiding elder ; R. E. Streeter, secre- 
tary. The amount allowed to each preacher was 
two hundred and eighty- two dollars. The mem- 
bers present were C. H. Staples, Uriah Cottle ; Jon- 
athan Manzer, from the Diggins Settlement, who 
was afterwards a traveling preacher among the Wes- 
leyans; William Deats, Wesley Diggins; J. Walkup, 


from Crystal Lake ; R. K. Hurd, of Round Prairie; 
and R. Latham. The receipts were : From Round 
Prairie, $9.50; Diggins's class, $2.75, and enough 
besides to make up $17.25, of which L. S. Walker 
received $12.29 ; O. A. Walker, $2.75. Long rides 
and great pay ! 

The second quarterly-meeting was held at Uriah 
Cottle's, in Virginia Settlement, January 11, 1840. 
C. H. Shapley, of Harmony, was chosen steward, 
and elected as recording steward. The receipts im- 
proved. They were: Harmony, $8.87; Deats's, 
$8.50; Crystal Lake,. $9.85 ; Queen Ann (three 
miles north of Woodstock), $1.00; Round Prairie, 
$1.50. The third quarterly-meeting was held at 
Pleasant Grove, May 6, 1840. For some reason 
O. A. Walker did not continue the year through, 
and W. B. Cooley, at the third quarterly-meeting, 
was engaged for the work. At this meeting there 
were receipts acknowledged from Stevenson's class, 
which had been formed near the present county- 
line church, six miles south-west of Harvard. 

The fourth quarterly-meeting was held in the 
Diggins Settlement, August 14, 1840. John Clark, 
presiding elder, was present. The licenses of J. 
Maxon and Orrin Lewis were renewed. Philander 
Ferry was licensed to preach, and recommended to 
conference, but was not admitted. J. D. Maxon 
appealed to the conference against a decision of a 
class committee at Round Prairie. Gibson Wright, 
a member of the Church, appeared as complainant. 
The decision of the committee was reversed. Wra. 
R. Streeter also eame with an appeal ; the same 


complainant. Decision reversed. The charges 
against both the above were for entering land 
claimed by Gibson Wright, and the record of the 
trials, which are before us as we write, are fine spec- 
imens of the claim quarrels of that early day. 
Many a Methodist class was nearly broken up by 
the disputes about land. The receipts for the whole 
year on this the first year of one of our earliest 
and best circuits were : Virginia Settlement, 
$38.63; Round Prairie, $64; Harmony, $13.62; 
Deats's class, $25.48 ; Pleasant Grove, $27.37 ; Dig- 
gins Settlement, $61.31 ; Stevenson's, $6.87 ; Dis- 
bro's (Alden), $10.00; Columbia (?), $12.50 ; public 
collections, $21.32. Total, $304.42. Disbursed as 
follows : J. Clark, presiding elder, $16.16 ; L. S. 
Walker, $191.62 ; O. A. Walker, $91.00. 

In 1840 O. A. Walker was the preacher in 
charge. The first quarterly-meeting was to have 
been held at Round Prairie ; but as the elder could 
not find the place no meeting was held. 

The second was held at David Duffield's, Janu- 
ary 30, 1841 ; J. T. Mitchell, presiding elder, pres- 
ent. Members present : O. A. Walker, P. Perry, 
and Orrin Lewis, local preachers ; Uriah Cottle, 
Leander H. Bishop, William McConnel, C. H. 
Shapley, stewards ; Truman Harvey, Luther Finch, 
Josiah Walkup, Isaac H. Fairchild, E. G. Wood, 
J. M. Day, S. R. Morris, leaders. Philander Ferry 
was engaged as supply to the circuit. 

The third quarterly-meeting was held at Mc- 

Henry. Additional members present : R. C. Hovey, 

leader, from Round Prairie. J. D. Maxon was up 



with another appeal from Round Prairie. He had 
been expelled, but was restored by the quarterly 

The fourth quarterly-meeting was held in Vir- 
ginia Settlement, June 28, 1841. Members present: 
O. A. Walker, P. Ferry, preachers ; E. G. Wood, 
exhorter; U. Cottle, C. H. Shapley, O. P. Rogers, 
L. H. Bishop, stewards ; L. Finch, John Clark, Geo. 
Crocker, S. R. Morris, Isaac H. Fairchild, leaders. 

The receipts for the year were : J. T. Mitchell, 
presiding elder, $21.88; O. A. Walker, $195.84; 
P. Ferry, $60.00 Two Sunday-schools were re- 
ported — one at Crystal Lake, the other at Pleasant 
Grove, with twenty-two scholars. The following 
were baptized during the year : Sally P. Chamber- 
lain, Eli Evans, Emily Evans, John Dickerson, 
William Knox, John Job, Harriet Fuller, Charlotte 
Morris, adults; Nancy M. Bowman, Eliza Ann Bow- 
man, Elijah M. Bowman (who, twenty years after, 
died at Fort Henry), Margaret G. Duffield, McKen- 
dree F. Bishop, Frances A. Walker, and John W. 
Murphy, children. 

The first quarterly-meeting after conference, in 
1841, was held at a camp-meeting at Pleasant 
Grove, September 18, 1841. Thomas Thorn is a 
new name on the official list. E. G. Wood received 
license to preach, and in 1862 went to the Nazarites. 
Asa White and Nathaniel Swift were the preachers. 
Elijah Bowman, of Round Prairie, was chosen a 

The second quarterly-meeting was appointed at 
Round Prairie; but there were not members present 


sufficient to hold a conference. The third was held 
in a school-house in the Diggins Settlement, Feb- 
ruary 26, 1842. Jonathan Manzer was secretary. 
Among the members present were Nathan Jewett, 
local deacon, and Michael Decker, exhorter. The 
appointments were the same as in 1839. N. Jewett, 
M. Decker, and Uriah Cottle were appointed a com- 
mittee to prepare a camp-ground in Virginia Set- 
tlement, which camp-meeting was probably not held 
there ; but the fourth quarterly-meeting was held at 
a camp-meeting near Crystal Lake, June 18, 1842. 
Edwin Brown, from Pleasant Grove, I. H. Fair- 
child, and M. Decker, from Virginia Settlement, 
were present as exhorters; L. H. Bishop, Elijah 
Bowman, Wesley Diggins, stewards ; John T. San- 
born, from Kishwaukie Prairie, U. Cottle, David 
Barron, R. E. Streeter, George Crocker, S. R. 
Morris, and L. Finch, leaders. M. Decker came 
recommended for license to preach. The license 
and a recommendation to conference were granted. 
P. Ferry was again recommended to conference, 
but was not admitted. An answer to a question is 
given, that the circuit has no real estate and no 
need of church trustees. A vote was passed, rec- 
ommending Round Prairie to be attached to the 
Roscoe work. "We wonder if the conference was 
tired of the appeals from that quarter. The re- 
ceipts for the year were : J. T. Mitchell, $23.85 ; 
Asa White, $231.00; N. Swift, $77.68. 

The first quarterly-meeting for the year 1842 
was held near Crystal Lake, in Albro's barn, Sep- 
tember 3, 1842; S. H. Stocking, presiding elder; 


Asa White and William Gaddis, preachers. The 
second quarterly-meeting failed. The third was 
held at Cold Spring Prairie, February 18, 1843. 
Solon and Oakley's appeared as new appointments; 
Round Prairie and Stevenson's had gone into the 
Belvidere Circuit. The fourth quarterly-meeting 
was held at a camp-meeting, June 10, 1843. Charles 
McClure and Edwin Brown were licensed to preach, 
and McClure recommended to conference. Four 
Sunday-schools were reported in operation. It was 
recommended that Big Foot and Cold Spring Prai- 
rie be set off into a circuit, to be called Big Foot. 
The whole receipts for the year were $232.00. 

In 1843 the first quarterly-meeting was held at 
Pleasant Grove, October 14, 1843 ; William Val- 
lette and Charles McClure, preachers. The second 
quarterly-meeting was held at McHenry, December 
30th ; the third at a school-house on Queen Ann 
Prairie, April 13, 1844, where a board of trustees 
was appointed, who reported at the last quarterly- 
meeting that they had a deed of parsonage property 
located at Crystal Lake. The fourth quarterly- 
meeting was held at a camp-meeting, June 22, 1844. 
Edwin Brown, from Pleasant Grove, was recom- 
mended to conference, and, being received, he was 
returned as junior preacher to the circuit the next 
year. The same thing occurred a year before with 
C. McClure. The following Sunday-school report 
was presented : Coral, 30 scholars ; Kishwaukie 
Prairie, 43 ; Queen Ann, 36 ; Virginia Settlement, 
40 ; total, 33 officers and teachers and 149 scholars. 
The appointments at this time were Crystal Lake, 


Coral, Pleasant Grove, English Prairie, Virginia 
Settlement, Deats's neighborhood (called Albion), 
McHenry, Queen Ann, Best's, Simon's, and Solon. 
Diggins Settlement had gone to the Wesleyans and 

From the conference of 1844 Levi Jenks and 
Edwin Brown were sent as preachers. The ap- 
pointments remained the same as last year. 

Levi Jenks had joined the conference in 1842, 
and had been appointed to Dupage Circuit. Pre- 
vious to this he was a citizen of Joliet. In 1843 
he. was appointed to Joliet, and in 1845 to Milford. 
He located in 1846 and settled at Aurora. There 
he became a banker, and occupied for years a prom- 
inent position as a citizen. He was drawn into the 
so-called Nazarite movement in 1860, and with- 
drawing from the Church some time after united 
his destiny with the Free Methodists. 

Edwin Brown appeared as a member of the 
quarterly conference on Crystal Lake Circuit, held 
at Crystal Lake, June, 1842, in the capacity of an 
exhorter. He was licensed to preach a year after, 
and in 1844 admitted to the Rock River Conference. 
Previous to this he had been class-leader at Pleas- 
ant Grove. From 1844 he has filled appointments 
regularly every year, and he will frequently appear 
in our pages. Crystal Lake Circuit began in 1840 
with two hundred and thirty-two members, and 
commenced the year 1844, after losing much terri- 
tory with three hundred and sixty. 

Dixon Circuit was formed in 1839 from that 
portion of the Buffalo Grove Circuit lying east of 


Rock River from Daysville to Lee Center, and was 
supplied by Luke Hitchcock, who had just come 
from the East. The appointments were at Dixon, 
Light House Point, Washington Grove, and Lee 
Center. There was a great revival during the 
Winter of 1840. Dixon, the headquarters of this, 
Luke Hitchcock's first western circuit, was known 
far and wide as Dixon's Ferry from 1830. From 
the time the lead mines of Galena began to attract 
attention teams from the Wabash River made their 
journeys north, and from Peru to Galena was 
opened one of the first roads in Northern Illinois. 
Along this road the first settlements of the Rock 
River country were made. In 1828 a French and 
Indian half-breed, named Ogee, built a cabin on the 
present site of Dixon, and established a ferry. In 
1829 a post-office was located there, and one Gay, 
an employe of Ogee, was postmaster. Previous 
to 1830 Mr. John Dixon carried the mail once in 
two weeks from Peoria to Galena, and April 11th, 
1830, having purchased the claim to the ferry, he 
settled his family at the place to which he has given 
name, and "Dixon's Ferry" became one of the 
noted points of the West. In the course of time 
"Dixon's Ferry" was changed to Dixon, and a 
thriving town began to beautify the rising banks. 

The first appearance of Methodists in Dixon 
was in 1836, when Mr. Caleb Talmadge and his 
wife Amanda arrived in the place on the 13th 
of May. 

There were no religious societies organized, and 
no preaching of the Gospel except twice for many 


months. Dixon was laid out as a town, but it 
counted only three log houses and a blacksmith's 
shop. One building was a double house, built of 
hewn logs, the upright part being about seventy- 
feet in length. In this Mr. Talmadge kept a pub- 
lic house. In one end of the building was a store 
with dry-goods and groceries. The store had all 
the trade of the surrounding country and the tavern 
all the custom. Here often were found intelligent 
and sometimes pious travelers. Mrs. Talmadge, 
who was a Methodist, was ever looking out for the 
latter. James McKean, who was on the Buffalo 
Grove work, had an appointment at Dixon once in 
seven weeks. His was all the preaching for months, 
except one sermon by Alexander Irvine. Mrs. 
Dixon, wife of John Dixon, who gave name to the 
place, was a Baptist, and a devoted Christian woman. 
There was also a Mrs. Hamilton, who was a Pres- 
byterian. Mr. Talmadge and wife and the two 
named were all that represented the Christian re- 
ligion in Dixon in 1836. Sickness in the place 
often brought the three females together, when they 
poured out the troubles of their hearts to one 

In the last days of December, 1836, Mrs. Tal- 
madge went over to Mrs. Dixon's to talk and pray 
over the condition of things in town. The wicked- 
ness around would not let her rest. When she met 
Mrs. Dixon she was preparing to visit Mrs. Tal- 
madge on the same errand. As Mrs. Dixon grasped 
Mrs. Talmadge's hand, she said: "I believe God 
has sent you here." They sat down and talked 


and wept together, and spoke of the anxiety they 
felt for others. Thus they passed the whole after- 
noon. Before they parted the family was called 
in, and after a chapter was read they bowed in 

Mr. Talmadge had come in by this time, and after 
talking the matter over they agreed to appoint a 
meeting to be held each Sabbath at half-past ten. 
This was on Thursday. One week from the follow- 
ing Sabbath was the first Sabbath of 1837. Mrs. 
Dixon proposed that day as the day of commence- 
ment, but Mrs. Talmadge feared delay, and the 
next Sabbath, the last of 1836, was fixed upon as 
the time of commencing. When the hour of meet- 
ing arrived the little company of four Christians 
met at Mrs. Dixon's with burdened hearts. The 
cross w^as heavy. The entire population assembled, 
and in the company were lawyers, merchants, doc- 
tors, and government officials. Mr. Talmadge was 
a timid man, and left the heft of the burden to the 
women. Mrs. Dixon read a chapter, a hymn was 
sung, and prayer and speaking followed. Mrs. 
Talmadge, especially, had liberty that day. She 
spoke of what God had done for her, and of the 
need the community had of religion. The congre- 
gation was solemn and in tears. Mrs. Dixon's son 
and wife set out that day to seek a pardon of sin. 
Nor did they seek in vain. The son died in the 
faith and the wife was a member of the Methodist 
Church as late as 1865. These meetings were con- 
tinued every Sabbath until Spring. During the 
Winter they had had but two sermons. The meet- 


ings were of so much interest the fire spread to 
other neighborhoods. Some came eight or nine 
miles in the coldest of weather to be at the Dixon 
prayer-meetings. Almost every Sabbath persons 
would be present from nine or ten miles away, and 
their houses were crowded. The citizens instead 
of opposing did all they could to encourage the 

About the first of May, 1837, a class of eleven 
members was organized. The members were Caleb 
and Amanda Talmadge, John Richards, Ann Rich- 
ards, Maria McClure, Israel Chamberlain, Mr. Mc- 
Cabe and wife, and Samuel Bowman and Eliza, his 
wife. A Sunday-school, with Samuel Bowman as 
superintendent, was organized in June, 1837. The 
first quarterly-meeting was held in the Summer of 
1837. Isaac Pool and Robert Delap were the 
preachers, Henry Summers, the presiding elder. 
The quarterly conference was held in Mr. Tal- 
madge's bar-room. 

Brother Hitchcock was continued at Dixon in 

1840, but during the Winter of 1841 the trustees 
of Rock River Seminary appointed him agent of 
that institution, and R. A. Blanchard was removd 
from the Buffalo Grove Circuit to fill Mr. Hitch- 
cock's place at Dixon. During the Summer of 

1841, at the last quarterly-meeting of the year held 
at Lighthouse, a revival meeting began, which 
lasted just one week, and resulted in the conversion 
of sixty souls. During this meeting two horse 
thieves, Driscol by name, were shot near the Light- 
house church by a company of settlers. 


Until 1840 the Methodists worshiped at Dixon 
in the school-house. At this time a small church 
was commenced, which was dedicated in 1843 by 
John T. Mitchell, aud in 1856 the society was 
worshiping in this old rough-looking edifice. At 
that time, Wilbur McKaig being pastor, a new and 
commodious church was built of brick forty-five by 
seventy-five feet in size, and was dedicated by Mr. 
McKaig March 1, 1857. The church, like many 
others, has since been burdened with debt, but 
through ups and downs, some of them peculiar to 
Dixon, the society is striving to maintain an hon- 
orable and prosperous existence. 

Our present half decade closes in 1840 with 
twenty different charges, and three thousand seven 
hundred and fourteen members, with humble 
churches at Chicago, Galena, Washington Grove, 
Joliet, Plainfield, Elgin, and North Branch Chicago 
River. For the districts and presiding elders of 
this period see the appointments given at the com- 

Among the elders were Wilder B. Mack, 
a most popular preacher in Vermont, Ohio, and 
Illinois, who in 1836 fell into sin and was ex- 
pelled; Bartholomew Weed, one of the most 
active members of the first conference, and a lead- 
ing delegate to General Conference in 1844, who 
came from the New Jersey Conference in 1837, and 
returned (from Iowa) to the Newark Conference in 
1845, and who died a few years ago; Alfred 
Brunson, who was admitted into the Ohio Confer- 
ence in 1820 and appointed to Chautauqua, and who 


was preacher at Detroit in 1822, at Cleveland in 
1832, Alleghany City, 1833, and who, in 1835, trans- 
ferred to Illinois Conference, and was appointed 
elder on Galena District and missionary to Indians 
on the Upper Mississippi, who died about 1880. 




WE now come to the most noted epoch of our 
worthy history. The first session of the Rock 
River Conference marks an era in our history more 
distinct than commonly occurs. At the session of 
the Illinois Conference in Bloomington, in 1839 — 
the most northerly session ever held in the North- 
west up to that time — provision was made for the 
division of the conference. The Illinois Conference 
included the State of Illinois and the territory west 
and north of the present Central Illinois and Rock 
River Conferences, as far as the white man had gone. 
There were already appointments west of the Mis- 
sissippi in Iowa, and as far north as Green Bay and 
Fort Winnebago in Wisconsin. 

The General Conference of May, 1840, con- 
summated the division, setting off that part of the 
work north of the Kankakee and Illinois Rivers 
with all Iowa and Wisconsin into the new confer- 
ence. The southern line was nearly identical with 
the present boundary between the Rock River and 
the Central Illinois Conferences. It sometimes 
seems to us of a later day that the name was not 
fitly chosen, but if we look for any other name we 
can find none appropriate. Northern Illinois would 


be more fitting now ; but the conference embracing 
Iowa and Wisconsin, it was not a proper name in 
1840. The new conference found its best circuits 
along the beautiful prairies of Rock River ; and that 
country being the center of operations then in 
Northern Illinois, the conference received its pres- 
ent honored name. Methodism had its first and 
greatest successes along Rock River, and there the 
third church of the country was built, there the 
largest and best societies were organized, and, since 
Mt. Morris had been fixed upon as the site of the 
new conference seminary, the conference was ap- 
pointed to be held at that place ; and when it finally 
met, it was the first session of such a body north of 

The Rock River Conference began its first 
session at Mt. Morris, August 26, 1840. The vil- 
lage was just laid out, and there were but one or 
two buildings on the site. The conference was held 
in connection with a camp-meeting, on Pine Creek, 
on the farm of T. S. Hitt, who was a member of 
the conference, a mile and a half north-west of the 
present seminary buildings. The sessions were held 
in a log building, some distance from the camp- 
ground. Bishop Waugh presided. He opened the 
session with remarks on the importance of begin- 
ning right in organizing a new conference, and the 
necessity of keeping in this very important field an 
active, zealous, and spiritual ministry, and the care 
necessary to employ such men only as God had 
called into the work, or who believe they are truly 
called of God to preach the Gospel. 


The names of those who were to be considered 
members of the conference were called, when the 
following members appeared, and took their seats : 
Washington Wilcox, Benjamin T. Kavanaugh, Sal- 
mon Stebbins, James McKean, Sophronius H. Stock- 
ing, John Sinclair, Wesley Batcheller, H. W. Reed, 
Julius Field, Stephen P. Keyes, John Clark, Lean- 
der S. Walker, Wellington Weigley, Robert Delap, 
Hiram W. Frink, Thomas M. Kirkpatrick, Francis 
A. Chenowith, Isaac I. Stewart, William Simpson, 
John Crummer, Samuel Pillsbury, Elihu Springer, 
Henry Summers, Rufus Lummery. 

B. T. Kavanaugh was chosen secretary ; H. W. 
Reed, assistant. Neither of these ever had work in 
the bounds of Rock River Conference. H. W. 
Reed has been from that time to this an effective 
minister in Iowa. B. T. Kavanaugh, while con- 
nected with the conference, was on districts in Wis- 
consin. He is a brother of the late Hubbard H. 
Kavanaugh, one of the bishops of the South Church. 
He located in 1846, studied medicine, traveled as 
temperance lecturer and as Bible agent, and is still 
living, in Kentucky. The business of the confer- 
ence went on in the usual form, with nothing of 
peculiar interest. 

The Rock River Seminary, the building of 
which was just commenced, found a warm place in 
the preachers' hearts, many of them, in those days 
of poor pay, subscribing for hundred-dollar schol- 
arships. The following persons were received on 
trial into the traveling connection : P. S. Richard- 
son, C. N. Wager, Henry Hubbard, N. Swift, L. F. 


Molthrop, W. B. Cooley, Sidney Wood, Asa White, 
M. F. Shinn, H. P. Chase, D. Worthington, H. 
Whitehead, James Ash, R. A. Blanchard, A. M. 
Early, E. P. Wood, C. Campbell, Philo Judson. 
Caleb Lamb was readmitted, and several came to 
the conference by transfer. J. T. Mitchell, Hooper 
Crews, and Asa McMurtry were transferred a month 
later, at the session of the Illinois Conference, and 
were really not members at the first session, and 
probably not present. There were two Indians pres- 
ent as probationary members, from the Lake Supe- 
rior region, both of whom had been John Clark's 
assistants in 1834. They were George Copway, 
whose Indian name was Kahkahgebow, and H. P. 
Chase. On Sunday afternoon H. P. Chase preached 
one of the most moving missionary sermons it is the 
privilege of conference members to hear. Among 
other figurative allusions, he undertook to illustrate 
the spreading of Methodism. 

" Men of science," he said, " so far as I know, 
have never been able to make water run up-stream ; 
but Methodism has accomplished it, causing the 
waters of salvation to flow up the Mississippi, even 
to Lake Superior. The beavers build their dams 
and form their colonies, and when the colonies be- 
come overgrown the head-beaver sets out up-stream 
on an exploring trip, to search out a place for a new 
dam. Returning, he takes a few bold ones with 
him, and they build a new dam and form a new col- 
ony. So the Methodists came over the Ohio River, 
and went up the Mississippi, causing the waters of 
salvation to flow to Galena and to Prairie du Chien. 


A colony was formed many years ago in Illinois. 
The Illinois Conference colony has carried on the 
work. The waters flowed up the Illinois River to 
Ottawa and Chicago, up Fox River to Big AVoods 
to St. Charles, to Elgin, and ran over the banks to 
the country east and west. They flowed up Rock 
River to Dixon and Buffalo Grove ; and now," said 
the eloquent Indian, pointing to Bishop Waugh, 
" the big beaver, the bishop, has come here on Pine 
Creek to form another colony that will possess the 
land. And, thank God, these waters of life have 
rolled on to the Upper Mississippi, to Lake Su- 
perior, and lo, the poor Indian is drinking of the 
stream !" 

During all this pathetic recital the people laughed 
and wept at the same time, and the shouts of praise 
for the blessings of an abounding Gospel rose high 
and wild and joyful from the very souls of the 
early settlers gathered there. 

Since this is the first conference, we give the ap- 
pointments of 1840 entire ; but after this shall not, 
to any great extent, cumber our pages with ap- 

Chicago District : J. T. Mitchell, P. E. — Chi- 
cago, H. Crews; Lake, William Gaddis ; Wheeling, 
J. Nason; Elgin, S. Bolles; Crystalville, O. A. 
Walker ; Roscoe and Belvidere, M. Bourne ; Rock- 
ford, S. H. Stocking; Sycamore, L. S. Walker, N. 
Swift; Dupage, William Kimball; Naperville, C. 

Ottawa District : J. Sinclair, P. E. — Ottawa, 
J. L. Bennett; Milford, E. Springer; Wilmington, 


R. Lummery; Juliet, W. Weigley; Lockport, W. 
Batchellor ; Indian Creek, Asa White ; Princeton, 
J. M. Snow, Bristol, H. Hadley. 

Mr. Morris District : /. Clark, P. E. — Buffalo 
Grove, A. McMurtry, R. A. Blanchard; Dixon, 
supplied; Portland, William Vallette; Stevenson, 
C. N. Wager ; Savannah, P. Judson ; Galena, J. W. 
Whipple ; Apple River, E. P. Wood ; Freeport, S. 
Pillsbury, R. Brown ; T. S. Hitt, agent for Rock 
River Seminary. 

Burlington District: H. Summers, P. E. — 
Burlington, I. I. Stewart; Mt. Pleasant, T. M. 
Kirkpatrick ; Richland, M. F. Shinn ; Fox River 
Mission, N. Smith ; Philadelphia, J. Arrington ; 
Fort Madison, M. H. McMurtry, W. B. Cooley; 
Bloomington, N. Jewett; Crawfordsville, J. L. 

Iowa District: B. Weed, P. E. — Iowa, G. G. 
Worthington; Rockingham, C. Campbell; Coman- 
che, B. H. Cartwright ; Marion, J. Hodges ; Belle- 
vue, P. S. Richardson; Clarksville, H. Hubbard; 
Dubuque, W. Wilcox. • 

Indian Mission District: B. T. Kavanaugh, 
Superintendent— St. Peter's and Sioux Mission, D. 
King ; Chippewa Mission, H. J. Brace, George Cop- 
way, H. P. Chase, A. Huddleson, J. Johnson; 
Sandy Lake, S. Spates. 

Plattville District: H. W. Reed, P. E.— 
Plattville, supplied; Lancaster and Prairie du.Chien, 
W. Simpson, A. M. Early ; Mineral Point and Wy- 
ota, J. G. Whitford ; Monroe, J. Ash ; Madison, 
supplied; Fort Winnebago, S. P. Keyes; Fon du 


Lac, J. Halsted ; Green Bay, supplied ; Oneida Mis- 
sion, H. R. Coleman. 

Milwaukee District : Julius Field, P. E. — 
Milwaukee, J. Crammer ; Racine, L. F. Molthrop ; 
Root River, H. Whitehead ; Southport Mission, S. 
Stebbins; Burlington and Rochester, D. Worthing- 
ton ; Troy, J. McKean ; Watertown, Sidney Wood ; 
Summit, H. W. Frink ; A. F. Rogers, transferred 
to Illinois Conference. 

It will be seen that there were sixty-one charges, 
to which seventy-four preachers were appointed from 
the conference, with eleven places " to be supplied," 
in full or in part. Twenty-six of these charges were 
in our present bounds, with thirty-two preachers. 
There were seventeen preachers in Wisconsin, and 
eighteen in Iowa, not counting the Indian mission- 
aries. The following conferences are direct out- 
growths of this first Rock River Conference : Wis- 
consin, West Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Upper 
Iowa, and Des Moines. There is also a large Ger- 
man conference on the same ground. Among the 
appointments is T. S. Hitt, agent for Rock River 
Seminary ; the same appointment appeared in 1839. 

Though the Methodists have always preached to 
learned and unlearned, and although many of the 
preachers have lacked educational advantages, at 
the same time the Church has ever been forward to 
establish institutions of learning. Four million 
dollars were raised in the Centenary year for edu- 
cational purposes. The corner-stone of a college 
was laid at Abingdon, Maryland, twenty-five miles 
from Baltimore, June 5, 1778, just five years after 


the first conference, and twenty years after the 
first society was organized. It was called, from 
Coke and Asbury, Cokesbury College. It en- 
joyed, during its ten years' existence, an extensive 
fame; but in 1795 it was burned to the ground. 
Asbury, somewhat discouraged, wrote : " The Lord 
called not Mr. Whitefield nor the Methodists to 
build colleges." It was not long after rebuilt, and 
the second time destroyed by fire. Whether cor- 
rect or not, the Church now conceived that Provi- 
dence did not intend that the Methodists should 
«pend their time in establishing schools. But 
Methodism was born in Oxford College, and it 
could not be that this growing Church should ig- 
nore education. Early in the present century there 
began to be movements toward establishing institu- 
tions of learning. The Maine Wesleyan Seminary 
was founded at Readfield in 1823; the Wesleyan 
Academy at Wilbraham and the Oneida Conference 
Seminary at Cazenovia were founded in 1824. Be- 
fore 1839 the Amenia Seminary in New York, the 
Falley Seminary at Fulton, the Genesee Wesleyan 
Seminary at Lima, Gouverneur Seminary, Prepara- 
tory Institute at Middletown, Newbury, Ripley Fe- 
male College, Springfield Academy, and the Wil- 
mington Collegiate Institute were all in operation, 
as were also the Indiana Asbury University, Mc- 
Kendree College, and the Wesleyan University. 
McKendree College, then just struggling into life, 
was the only Methodist institution in Illinois in 
1839 ; and in the bounds of the Rock River Con- 
ference as late as 1850 there was no institution 


above a common select school, save alone the old 
and honorable Rock River Seminary. A detailed 
history of all the ups and downs of this institution, 
its debts and its clouds, its revivals and its days of 
sunshine, would occupy the pages of a volume rather 
than a chapter, and can therefore have but little 
attention. The Illinois Conference of 1838 ap- 
pointed a committee to fix the location of a semi- 
nary in Northern Illinois, consisting of John Clark, 
Peter R. Borein, L. S. Walker, W. S. Crissey, and 
T. S. Hitt. The committee met at John Clark's 
log cabin on Fox River, in March, 1839, when 
Joliet, St. Charles, Geneva, Elgin, Rockford, Ros- 
coe, Kishwaukie, and Maryland Colony were pro- 
posed. These places were invited to enter into 
competition, making offers to the committee. The 
committee met again in May. Roscoe, Kishwaukie, 
and the Maryland Colony alone made offers. Roscoe 
offered a subscription of $2,000, and town-lots and 
lands, which they valued at $5,000; Kishwaukie 
made about the same offer. Maryland Settlement 
offered a subscription of $8,000, indorsed by three 
of the principal men, and three hundred and twenty 
acres of land, which they bound themselves to deed 
to the trustees when it came into market. The last 
named place was selected by the committee as the 
place of location, and when the trustees met to lay 
out the village John Clark proposed to call the 
place Mt. Morris, after the most popular bishop of 
that time, and that name has been on Rock River 
Conference records ever since. Mt. Morris, which 
is situated on a high prairie, overlooking the coun- 


try for sixteen miles in almost every direction, and 
its vicinity, was settled as early as 1837 by people 
from Washington County, Maryland, led to the 
place by N. Swingley and Samuel M. Hitt. The 
settlers were numerous enough to have regular 
preaching and a good school in 1838. A traveler, 
passing through the settlement in August, 1838, 
says the people were talking of a seminary. At the 
conference of 1839 T. S. Hitt was appointed agent. 
In 1840 the venerable building, which stood alone 
till 1851, was erected. It was of stone, thirty-six 
by seventy-five feet in size, and three stories high. 
Six months before the building was used, J. N. 
Waggoner, for many years afterward bookseller at 
Galena, taught classes in a small log building. Pro- 
fessor D. J. Pinckney, who had been educated at 
Lima, New York, was chosen principal in 1842, and 
entering upon his work, was at once popular, mak- 
ing a name for himself and the seminary all through 
the country. He was then one of the most eloquent 
preachers of the West. He was a genius, if there 
be such a being, who by intuition evolved great 
thoughts, and swept the skies with mellifluous 
tropes. With the faith and devotion of a Simpson, 
we know no reason why he might not have melted 
to tears national audiences. In 1847 he retired to 
his farm near by, and there continued to reside, 
being elected now and then to some office in the 
State, that served to bring out his reserved and la- 
tent powers. He died about 1882. Professor S. R. 
Thorp was principal for a year, and was succeeded 
in 1847 by C. C. Olds; he by Professor Mattison 


and S. M. Fellows. In 1855 W. T. Harlow came, 
and for ten years guided the affairs of the institu- 
tion. Debts have been a burden upon the institu- 
tion from the beginning, and in 1861 it was sold to 
pay its indebtedness. A stock company was formed, 
with Professor Harlow at its head, who repurchased 
the property, and for a time it was really under in- 
dividual control, though under conference influence 
and patronage. But in 1876 it passed out of the 
hands of the Church. Long may its walls stand 
emblems of its moral power ! 

Man,y of the best ministers of the Rock River 
Conference received their education at this seminary. 
When, in 1846, we had fully decided to become a 
Methodist preacher, and desired to enter upon 
higher studies than those taught in the public 
schools of the city of our home, Ave could find in 
all the bounds of the Rock River Conference no 
school of higher grade than the public schools, ex- 
cepting select schools, taught here and there during 
Winter months, save alone the Rock River Semi- 
nary, founded by the pioneer Methodist preachers. 
In no other place in the bounds of our conference 
could we study Greek or Latin, rhetoric or algebra, 
logic or mental philosophy. But out there on the 
prairie, which seemed the termination of the Great 
West, we found a school of high grade, to which 
aspiring students from a hundred miles around gath- 
ered to prepare for noble action. And few realize 
what an influence for good the old seminary, 
founded by the money and toil of our early mem- 
bers and itinerants, has had throughout the North- 


west, through her intelligent sons and daughters. 
At the conference in 1840 twenty-five preachers 
subscribed for one-hundred-dollar scholarships. The 
seminary introduced at first the manual-labor sys- 
tem, so popular in that day ; but, as in almost all 
other instances, it proved a failure. Old Rock 
River Seminary, mother of seminaries and of men, 
stands not alone to-day, but none stands with more 
honor. Around no other institution in the West 
cluster such ardent memories. Men of note have 
linked their names to the institution as teachers, and 
her students occupy honorable positions in all parts 
of the land. The rising schools at Evanston and 
Aurora shall never dethrone the venerable alma 
mater from the affections of her children. Among 
teachers whose names will live, besides those men- 
tioned already, are Miss Russel, S. M. Fellows, Miss 
E. V. Mitchell, Miss Olin, W. S. Pope, and others; 
and among students are General W. H. Wallace, 
slain at Pittsburg Landing ; H. L., James N., and 
J. W. Martin, D. W. Linn, S. G. Havermale, D. J. 
Holmes, M. L. Reed, A. D. Field, W. P. Jones, 
J. T. Hannah, Henry Whipple, T. H. Hagerty, 
John A. Gray, F. D. Corwin, and Bishop C. H. 



AMONG the new charges appearing in 1840 was 
Belvideee. It was, however, yet in connec- 
tion with Roscoe Circuit ; but the next year it ap- 
peared independent, and has since become one of 
our most pleasant stations. The first settlements 
commenced in Belvidere in 1835. In June, 1836, 
the first sermon was preached in Mr. Caswell's 
house by William Royal, who was at that time on 
Fox River Mission. Brother Royal, it will be rec- 
ollected, set out in the Spring of 1836 forming 
classes and establishing appointments from Elgin 
to Rockford, visiting Pleasant Grove, Belvidere, 
Enoch's, Roscoe, and Rockford. Stephen Arnold, 
who was sent to the newly formed Sycamore Circuit 
in 1836, kept up the appointment at Belvidere; but 
a class was not organized until September 24, 1837, 
three days before the session of the conference that 
year. William Gaddis, the assistant preacher on 
the circuit, received the members of the first class 
into the Church. There were thirteen names to 
begin with, a much larger number than were usually 
found at the first forming of a class in that day. 
Brother Gaddis preached at the time from Isaiah 
i, 18 : " Come now, and let us reason together," etc. 


James McBride was appointed leader. The other 
members, as far as known, were the leader's wife; 
Brother Evans, wife, and sister; Milton S. Mason, 
his wife Mary Mason, and her sister ; Enos Rari- 
dan, William Dresser, and Ransom Gool. 

The Baptist Church was organized with thirteen 
members July 31, 1836. Belvidere was on Syca- 
more Circuit until the conference of 1838, when it 
was on the Rockford Circuit, and in 1839, 1840, 
and 1841 it was an appointment on Roscoe Circuit. 
The preachers were, 1837, L. S. Walker and Wm. 
Gaddis ; 1838, L. S. Walker and N. Jewett; 1839-40, 
Milton Bourne ; 1841, James McKean. A meeting 
was held in the village the last day of the year, 
1837, at the house of James McBride, which ended 
with a watch-night meeting. There were three 
preachers present. There was preaching at eleven 
o'clock in the morning by Mr. Lane, an Irishman, 
who supplied the work for a time, after which there 
was class-meeting. William Gaddis preached in 
the evening, taking for his text, " There is but a 
step betwixt me and death." A prayer-meeting 
followed, after which, at ten o'clock, there was 
preaching by Nathan Jewett. The meeting ended 
at midnight, and altogether it was a time of rejoic- 
ing to the new settlers. 

April 27, 1838, the third quarterly-meeting for 
the year on Sycamore Circuit was held at Belvidere, 
it being the first ever held in the place. The pre- 
siding elder, John Clark, preached with great power 
and acceptance. On Saturday, as we have seen, the 
meeting was held in a little log house used as a 



school room, and on Sunday held in a building just 
inclosed as a work-shop. Elder Clark preached 
Saturday from James i, 25 ; on Sunday from 2 Cor- 
inthians viii, 9. In 1842 Belvidere became the 
headquarters of a circuit which embraced Bonus 
and Round Prairies, with R. A. Blanchard and John 
Hedges as preachers. The last quarterly confer- 
ence of Crystal Lake Circuit in 1842 passed resolu- 
tions recommending the attachment of the Round 
Prairie and Stevenson classes to the Roscoe work. 
The result was the division of the Roscoe Circuit, 
leaving the Belvidere portion with appointments at 
Round Prairie, Russellville, Bonus Prairie, Belvi- 
dere, and Beaver. 

The appointments of Belvidere Circuit in 1843 
were at Newbury, Brown's, South Branch, Blood's 
Point, Shattuck's Grove, Lord's, Garden Prairie, 
Poplar Grove, and Beaver. In 1842 there were 
but twenty members at Belvidere, and they were 
mostly poor. Mr. Blanchard procured three lots 
of Dr. Malony for church purposes. Robert Mc- 
Bride had put up a large frame for a dwelling, but 
being unable to finish it he gave the frame to the 
society. It was eighteen by twenty-six feet in size. 
Mr. Blanchard moved this on to the lots he had 
secured, and set about finishing the building for a 
church. He begged oak shingles of one man, oak 
flooring of another, oak lath of a third, and pro- 
curing a team he hauled the lumber ten miles him- 
self. B.lack walnut lumber was secured for door 
and window casings. One mechanic made the doors, 
and another dressed the flooring. Mr. Blanchard 


raised money sufficient to purchase one thousand 
feet of siding at Chicago, and set to work laying 
the floor and shingling the roof himself. He also 
put on nearly all the siding. This superb edifice 
was ready for the first quarterly-meeting of the 
year. This was held by the presiding elder, S. H. 
Stocking. A revival followed, in which eighty 
persons were converted. Before the year closed the 
subscription was raised for building the church that 
was still standing in 1870. We give the above 
items to show how they built churches in those days. 
The old Canal Street Church, Chicago, was built in 
1843 in nearly the same way. Much of the work 
was volunteer work. 

The year closed with two hundred and ninety- 
four members, and these two worthy men were fol- 
lowed by O. W. Munger. The circuit continued to 
detach its territory until 1850, when Belvidere be- 
came a station. In 1849 it was a half station, with 
George Lovesee as preacher. There was preaching 
every Sunday morning in Belvidere, and at Shirley 
School-house, Blood's Point, Shattuck's Grove, and 
Beaver Creek, each once in four weeks, on Sabbath 
afternoon. The bare church walls had been stand- 
ing for years in Belvidere. During the Winter of 
1850 there was a glorious revival, with a large ac- 
cession. The preacher raised money to finish the 
church, and in 1850 it was completed. During the 
Winter of 1853 there was a revival resulting in the 
conversion of a hundred souls, and from that time 
the society there has been on the upward tendency. 

Naperville is another new charge appearing 


in 1840 — it was the year before included in Dupage 
Circuit. In July, 1831, the schooner Telegraph, 
from Ashtabula, Ohio, Captain Joseph and John 
Naper, arrived at Chicago with a number of fam- 
ilies. The families of the Napers went west and 
settled at Naper's Grove, near where Naperville 
now stands. The village took its name from Cap- 
tain Joseph Naper, he being the first white settler 
upon the present site. In 1831 a settlement was 
also made at the forks of the Dupage, six miles 
south-east of Naperville. Rev. Isaac Scarritt was 
among the settlers at that place. S. R. Beggs 
preached the first sermon in the neighborhood of 
Naperville in the Fall of 1832. He put up at Cap- 
tain Naper's on Saturday night, and preached in a 
private house to a congregation of twenty, half a 
mile north-west of the present town. E. Springer 
organized the first class in Naperville in the Fall 
of 1836. He also organized, about the same time, 
the class at Warrenville, one of the leading ap- 
pointments of Naperville Circuit. The meetings in 
that day at Warrenville were held at the houses of 
Jude P., and Erastus Gary, brothers of George 
Gary of the Black River Conference, a couple of 
young men who had come out from Connecticut, 
converts of the early Methodist preachers of New 

The settlers of Naperville and vicinity were 
about equally divided between Southern and East- 
ern people. The two streams, one up the Illinois 
River, the other through Chicago, crossed each 
other in Northern Illinois. The Naperville appoint- 


ment continued in the Des Plaines and Dupage 
Circuits until 1840, and in 1841 it was again ab- 
sorbed in Dupage, and did not give name to a 
charge again until 1847. At the close of the year 
1841 ninety-two members were reported. From 
1847-49 Naperville was more affected by the James 
Mitchell troubles than any point outside Chicago. 
This was owing to the fact that several Chicago 
discontents settled at Naperville, among whom was 
Mr. Lyman, who was one of the chief originators 
of Indiana Street Church. In 1849 the society at 
Naperville became so factious they would not re- 
ceive their preacher, O. W. Munger, and sent to 
the Protestant Methodist Conference for the best 
preacher they had. Mr. Strong, the very best man 
in that conference, was sent, and he preached to 
the Naperville people for a year. In 1848 the ap- 
pointments were at Naperville, Downer's Grove, 
Mayfield's School-house, Gary's Mill, Warrenville, 
Babcock's Grove, Clifford's School-house, Upper 
Cass School-house, and Lower Cass. 

The leaders we're at Naperville, A. Underwood* 
Charles Gary at the mill ; F. Talmadge at Warren- 
ville; Leander Clifford at Clifford School-house. 
The Gary class centered at the junction in 1859, 
and in 1860 a church was built principally through 
the influence of Charles Gary. Benjamin Close 
when on the Naperville Circuit in 1860 built a 
church at "Warrenville, principally by the help of 
Jude P. Gary and Brother Graves. 

In 1840 Lockport first appeared on the min- 
utes. From the beginning the place had been an 


appointment on the Joliet Circuit. It is not certain 
who preached the first sermon there. It was, how- 
ever, S. E. Beggs or W. S. Crissey. Mr. Crissey 
organized the society there in the Summer of 1839, 
during his second year on Joliet Circuit. The 
members were G. W. Works, leader, Mrs. Works, 
David Brezee (who died in 1849) and wife, Alonzo 
Brooks, Robert Lowry, Polly McMillen, Diza Man- 
ning, Achsia Heath, Julia Reed, and a few others. 
At the close of the year one hundred and forty 
members were reported at conference. The circuit 
was re-attached to the Joliet Circuit in 1842, and 
thus remained until 1850, when it became a circuit 
by itself. In 1849 S. F. Denning was appointed to 
the Joliet Circuit, but as Lockport was then the 
most pleasant place, the preacher lived at Lockport. 
The preaching was in the evening in an old school- 
house. During the year, probably in the Summer 
of 1850, Brother Denning began a small church. 
It was but twenty by thirty-two feet in size, and 
was partly plastered and seated with rough seats by 
Fall, so that the society had a passable home of its 
own without going in debt a penny. In 1850 Joliet 
was made a mission station, leaving the remainder 
of the old work in Lockport Circuit, with S. F. 
Denning returned as preacher. He preached every 
Sunday in Lockport, one Sabbath in the morning 
the other in the evening. The other appointments 
were Yankee Settlement, Chelsea, Francis's class on 
Hickory Creek, South Chelsea, Dryer's class, Had- 
ley, and Mt. Hope. The preaching was in school- 
houses in every place but Lockport. 


During this year the church at Lockport was 
completed, and was dedicated by Hooper Crews. 
Colonel Manning pronounced the little church 
beautiful, but best of all was the absence of debt, 
that incubus upon so many churches. A church 
was also commenced at Chelsea and inclosed, so 
that it was used most of the year by supplying 
temporary seats. It was thirty by forty feet in size, 
and was in its unfinished condition much better 
than the old school-house. Miles L. Reed, a man 
with a world of energy, went to Lockport in 1854, 
and soon set about building a large and commo- 
dious church. The church when finished was forty- 
two by sixty-five feet, with basement, the whole 
costing $6,000. The corner-stone was laid July 4, 
1855, by J. V. Watson, and it was dedicated Sab- 
bath, July 13, 1856, by James B. Finley, text, Isa- 
iah xi, 6-9. There was yet $1,500 lacking to meet 
expenses. A subscription was taken amounting to 
$1,100. In the afternoon Mr. Finley related in- 
cidents in his experience in early ministerial life, 
and J. W. Flowers, presiding elder of the district, 
preached in the evening. Joel A. Manning paid 
$1,300 towards the erection of this fine building. 
The church stands as a worthy monument of Brother 
Reed's untiring energy. From this time Metho- 
dism began to rise. There was a revival in 1857, 
with thirty converts. Joel Manning was class- 
leader from 1843. Lockport is now a desirable 
appointment. A new circuit and a new preacher 
appeared together in 1840. It was Savannah Cir- 
cuit, with Philo Judson as preacher. 


Savannah Circuit embraced all the country along 
the Mississippi from Galena to Rock Island. It 
was a wild new country, and the best place the 
preacher could find to live in was a board shanty 
put up under the lee of a larger building. On this 
first circuit Mr. Judson gave promise of the man 
he has since shown himself to be. He established 
the first regular appointment at Albany, and in 1857 
an old periodical book was lying about the parson- 
age at Albany, in which were many items and ac- 
counts written and kept in order in Mr. Judson's 
best style. If he ever forgot that first circuit the 
people have not forgotten him. The circuit con- 
tinued the same in 1841, with W. W. Buck and G. 
L. S. Stuff as preachers. Both preachers were re- 
ceived on trial this year. Mr. Buck was appointed 
to Prophetstown in 1842, to Buffalo Grove in 1843, 
and in 1844 he located. 

Savannah Circuit was divided until it became 
weak and small, and in 1843 disappeared. But in 
1857 the town gave name to another small charge. 
It had the year before been embraced in the Mt. 
Carroll Circuit. The appointments were at Savan- 
nah, Pleasant Hill school-house four miles east of 
Savannah, Ashby's school-house, and Mt. Zion, five 
miles north of Savannah. 




CHICAGO in 1840 received as pastor Hooper 
Crews. Old Clark Street could not have re- 
ceived a more fitting man. Chicago was then, in 
Qhurch as well as in secular matters, beginning to 
recover from the crash of 1837, and from the date 
of Mr. Crews's appointment Chicago Methodism has 
had an upward tendency. There were at the com- 
mencement of the year one hundred and fifty mem- 
bers; at its close one hundred and eighty-nine. 
Hooper Crews remained there two years, and dur- 
ing his term prosperity, with many conversions, 
attended his ministry. The church of 1834 had, 
in Peter Borein's time (1838), been enlarged, and 
now it was doubled in size, so that the original 
north side church formed a quarter of the large 
low church of 1845. 

In 1842 N. P. Cunningham was transferred from 
the Illinois Conference to serve Clark Street. "When 
he arrived at Chicago he found the custom still in 
force in all the Churches of preaching three times 
on the Sabbath. In the Spring, by common con- 
sent, the afternoon sermon was discontinued. The 
conference which held its session in Chicago had 

just closed, and had left a revival influence behind 



it. A revival was on hand without effort, and 
when one afternoon in the middle of November, 
1842, we stepped into the Methodist Church for the 
first time the people were alive. One brother, 
Harrington by name, after talking to the people, 
interrupting the sermon, fell to the floor and lay on 
his back in front of the altar, shouting. That was 
a Winter of great revivals. A protracted meeting 
commenced in the Methodist Church, which con- 
tinued every night for three months. There were 
one hundred and fifty conversions. Brother Crews, 
who was presiding elder on the Chicago District, 
remarked in meeting one evening towards Spring 
that he had attended meeting at different places on 
his district every evening for three months. In 
Chicago, in every place, among all classes, religion 
was the topic. You could not enter a store but de- 
bates for or against religion were on hand. For 
three months we, at school, along the streets, in the 
stores, scarcely ever heard a knot of people in con- 
versation but the topic was religion. One thing 
that conduced to this was the Millerite excitement 
of that year. In that day we knew of no converts 
to the Advent ideas in Illinois, but have since 
learned that in McHenry and Boone Counties, at 
Harvard, and at Round Prairie there were such 
converts, and these are all we have ever heard of 
in the State who in 1843 believed the Advent doc- 
trine. At Round Prairie they were Baptists, at 
Diggins settlement they were Methodists. But 
though there were no professed converts in Chicago 
the agitation of the subject caused people to think 


of religion and the judgment day, and thus give 
their thoughts to a preparation for death. A splen- 
did comet hung across the Southern heavens for a 
month. This, with the Millerites, was one of the 
"signs and wonders in heaven/' and so long as it 
showed its gorgeous brilliance in the sky people 
were led to talk of its premonitions. As an in- 
stance of the doings of the times allow us to cite a 
trivial incident. At the close of meeting one night 
a young brother asked us if we had seen the won- 
derful egg at the hardware store. We had not seen 
4t. He urged us to go, for it was a most wonderful 
sight. Being a curious Yankee the next morning 
early we set out a half mile down town to William 
Wheeler's store and obtained a view of the wonder- 
ful egg. It had been brought in from the country 
and sold for fifty cents. On the shell in rough 
raised letters, seemingly in nature's own handiwork 
were the ominous words : 

" In eighteen hundred and forty-three, 
The end of time will be." 

This, as the story went, had been laid by the 
hen in its lettered condition, and it became a nine 
days' wonder. In a week the owner received an- 
other egg from a chemist with these still more omi- 
nous words: 

" In eighteen hundred and forty-four, 
William Wheeler will be no more." 

This explained the hoax and showed how a 
chemist with acids could do the lettering. 

Brother Cunningham was one of the most assid- 
uous laborers Chicago Methodism has ever been blest 


with. He walked the snowy streets day after day for 
miles, hunting up the lost sheep. But, with all 
his toils, he was never very popular with the older 
members. He dressed in brown full cloth, and 
preached much against dress and worldly fashion, 
and, we suspect, was opposed to choirs; besides, 
there was a strength of will that made him stand 
up to oppose all error and wrong. During the 
Winter Rev. C. B. Smith was preaching at the Bap- 
tist Church. He was a schemer, and while baptiz- 
ing his young converts two nights in a week would 
take occasion to give the anti-immersion people a 
stroke or two. Many sailors attended Mr. Smith's 
Church, won by his keenness of wit and common 
sense, and one Sunday morning he caused to be 
hoisted over his church a flag with the significant 
word, "Bethel," in letters of white in a field of 
blue. Antagonism on one side produces it on an- 
other, and N. P. Cunningham, in what he consid- 
ered self-defense, often answered the challenges of 
the eloquent Baptist, who succeeded now and then 
in getting a sheep from Cunningham's flock. 

The favorite chorus sung in this meeting of 1843 
we have never heard since. It thrilled our young 
heart. It was, — 

"I'm bound for the promised land, 
O who will come and go with me, 
I'm bound for the promised land." 

James McClane and the present writer joined 
the Methodist Episcopal Church at Clark Street in 
the Fall of 1842. We had made a profession of 
religion on Fox River in November of this year, 


but still in some sort we consider N. P. Cunning- 
ham as our spiritual father. There is little signifi- 
cance probably in coincidences, but the fact that he 
was licensed to exhort the same year we were born, 
and that he died very nearly the same day we were 
received into conference, has caused us to wonder 
if the Lord would not suffer his mantle to fall upon 
us. Mr. Cunningham was a tall, spare, light-haired 
man, with pathetic and eloquent manner. He could 
pray with a spirit that would seem to carry the peo- 
ple up to the very gates of heaven. Many of his 
'converts have arisen to become faithful members of 
the Church. He began the year with one hundred 
and eighty-nine members and closed with two hun- 
dred and eighty-nine, being an increase of one 

At the close of the conference year Canal Street 
Church was under way, and two preachers were sent 
to the charge. These were Luke Hitchcock and 
Abram Hanson. The year 1843 stands ever mem- 
orable as the time when a second charge and a sec- 
ond preacher appeared in the city. It was the first 
second charge in any place in the Rock River Con- 
ference. The two societies were continued together 
as one charge until 1845, each preacher preaching 
in the morning at one church, and in the evening 
at the other, changing about each Sabbath. This 
was rather a dull year. Luke Hitchcock was al- 
ways more intellectual than stirring, and he had 
poor health from the beginning of the year, which 
caused him to leave the work entirely after six 
months. Mr. Hanson was an eloquent, flowery 


young Englishman, just received into conference, 
who drew the polite world around him. Besides, 
the great Millerite strain of the year before had 
subsided, and the cold reaction had set in, and over 
the whole city there was carelessness. Neglect and 
forgetfulness seemed to come over the people. Pro- 
tracted meetings were held during the Winter, but 
they were slimly attended, and there were never 
more than three or four forward for prayers at a 
time. It was a year of thinning and sifting; but 
still, by immigration and the few conversions, three 
hundred and fifty members were reported to confer- 
ence. The presiding elder, H. Crews, supplied the 
pulpit after Brother Hitchcock's departure. Brother 
Hanson left at conference time, waved away by 
many a white handkerchief from the Chicago River, 
as he gently glided from our view on a lake steamer, 
bound for England. He was absent a year, but re- 
turned in time to be readmitted to conference in 
1846, to be appointed to Old Town, Galena. In 
1847-48 he was appointed to Kenosha; in 1849-50, 
to Racine; and in 1851 he took a superannuated 
relation, and has, we believe, never been in the reg- 
ular work since, at one time even being out of the 
Church. He went as consul to Hayti in 1864, and 
died at Monrovia in July, 1866. 

As we have observed elsewhere, many English 
were members of Clark Street Church, and, conse- 
quently, English customs prevailed. The love-feast 
ticket had long been in use ; but this year they 
passed out of fashion. It is probable that H. Crews 
issued the last of these tickets that were ever given 


out by Clark Street pastors. The love-feasts were 
always held with closed doors, and you were ad- 
mitted on presentation of the ticket. The following 
is a copy of one of the last ever issued : 

"Alvaro Field. 

" ' In thee, Lord, do I put my trust ; let me never be 
ashamed; deliver me in thy righteousness.' (Psa. xxxi, 1.) 

"4th Qr., July, 1844. H. Ckews." 

The year following the appointment of Hitch- 
cock and Hanson, W. M. D. Ryan and Warner 
Oliver were sent to the Chicago Circuit. Mr. Ryan 
had been a Whig stump-orator in Ohio, and being 
converted at a camp-meeting, he preached at the 
stand in three hours after his conversion, and drove 
things at high pressure ever after. He was ad- 
mitted to the Ohio Conference in 1839 and ap- 
pointed junior preacher at Rushville. In 1840 he 
was appointed junior on Deer Creek Circuit, in the 
same relation to Hillsboro in 1841, as preacher in 
charge at Ripley in 1842, and in 1844 at Chicago. 
In 1846 he went to Milwaukee, but during the year, 
by an arrangement with F. M. Mills, he changed 
Milwaukee for a charge in Baltimore as junior 
preacher on Baltimore Circuit. In 1849 he was at 
Columbia Street. Here he had some sweeping re- 
vivals. In 1851 he was transferred to Philadelphia 
Conference and appointed to St. George's Chapel. 
He remained in Philadelphia a year or two and 
was made agent of the Metropolitan Methodist 
Episcopal Church at Washington. This stupendous 
scheme could have been pushed through by Dr. Ryan, 
M. D., if by any one, but for once he undertook to 


lift a burden too heavy to bear. In 1857 the State 
Street Church, Chicago, desired to leave their hum- 
ble room, and they procured the appointment of 
Dr. Ryan as their preacher. He engineered the 
building of Wabash Avenue Church, and after two 
years returned to Baltimore. Since that time he 
has been in charge of churches in Washington City, 
and there he alternated between a revival and a 
church building scheme. 

Warner Oliver, who had been a member of the 
Illinois Conference for several years, and who went 
to California in 1850, was at Clark Street a Sunday 
before Mr. Ryan came. We all felt that he was 
the man we needed. There was a life and interest 
in his preaching, which reminded us of old times. 
But when on the next Sunday Mr. Ryan appeared 
our joy knew no bounds. His first sermon in Chi- 
cago was Ryanish all over. He pounded the Bible, 
he flew from side to side of the old box pulpit, he 
exulted, and exclaimed, and harangued, and aroused, 
melted to tears, and exhilarated to shouts the vast 
throng crowded into the old wooden shell. The 
preacher himself was dripping with perspiration, his 
linen being as wet as on wash day. He captured 
the people that morning and held them for two 
years. If you ask by what chain, I say by one at- 
tached to the emotions, and not to the intellect. 
Storm a man's soul and you have him. 

Mr. Ryan was a medley. He was a mixture of 
enthusiasm, pathos, blarney, pompousness, and satire, 
with enough assurance to make him think he could 
do what he pleased. His great forte in 1845 was 


portraiture of persons and painting of scenes. Peter 
Borein displayed to view the experience of men, 
Ryan their actions, even to mimicry. He would 
sometimes reach over the pulpit, and opening the 
doors of the lower world would let his congrega- 
tion have such a vivid sight of the damned they 
would quiver. Then heaven, gorgeous, glorious, 
would burst its doors with the overflow of glory, 
and the people, dazzled with the sight, would shout 
for joy. He was withal a little given to the hypo. 
Things would clothe themselves in shadows, and 
•alone at home he would sink in despondency. He 
was troubled at times with attacks of bilious cholera, 
and sending for the physician would make ready to 
die. The doctor learned the weak point very soon, 
and sometimes rallied him by strategy. Once the 
preacher was about to depart. A few more hours, 
and his life would be ended. The doctor, D. S. 
Smith, feeling his pulse, remarked : " Brother Ryan, 
what a muscular arm you have !'' Upon this, Mr. 
Ryan raised himself up in his bed, and, baring his 
arm, exhibited its nervous muscles, and began to' 
tell the weights it had lifted and the great feats of 
strength it had performed. And so the physician 
beguiled him into stories of youthful doings, until, 
the pains subsiding, he was soon on his feet, a well 
man. After these sick spells we were sure to hear 
from him in the pulpit ; for then he always went 
ahead of himself in pulpit thunder. At one time, 
when he was carried away in one of his after-sick- 
ness gusts, he exclaimed, "Bless God, I have had 
the fever this week!" 


In social conversation he was always entertain- 
ing the brethren with his wonderful doings. He 
was put up to preach at the Galena Conference in 
1846. The sermon reverberated, not only through 
old Bench Street Church, but through street and 
alley, over hills and vales; and, in conclusion, he 
informed his astonished audience that if he could 
have had another hour and his accustomed physical 
strength, they would have heard from him! After 
this sermon, in private conversation with a parcel 
of ministers, where the subject of Ryan's modes 
came up, he gave them a bit of his experience in 
the preaching line. Among other things, he gave 
them this picture : " The serpent of sin lays the 
eggs of remorse in the soul, which, hatching there, 
gnaw upon the soul, world without end. There," 
said he, " that is not a touching to what I can do." 
After the Clark Street Church was built in 1845, a 
Chicago painter drew the church, with Dr. Ryan 
standing near by, pointing up to the steeple with his 
gold-headed cane, showing a stranger its lofty spire, 
as much as to say, " Do you see that ?" This pic- 
ture was framed, after being signed by the official 
board, and presented to Mr. Ryan. The picture 
was hung up in a prominent place, and Brother 
Ryan said he preferred it as a gift rather than two 
hundred dollars in cash. All will understand that 
the main constituents of such a nature are rare 
cleverness and good-will. He had a mesmeric 
power, that called people around him and to his 
arms. He was not one of those persons who bring 
people to their feet, but one who brings them to his 


embrace. His churches in Illinois were always 
crowded, and many a time, on ordinary occasions, 
we, as a youth, sat on the altar rail, to make room 
for others in Mr. Ryan's Clark Street crowd, and 
this, too, in a church that held twelve hundred 

During the first Winter of Ryan and Oliver's term 
there were three hundred conversions at the two 
churches. The year (1844) began with three hun- 
dred and fifty members, and closed with five hun- 
dred. The meetings of the Winter were like those 
of 1839 and 1843. They lasted three months, and 
many a night our party took seekers of religion be- 
longing to our set, at the close of meetings at the 
church, over to George F. Foster's house on the 
North Side, where we would remain an hour or two 
in prayer and the relating of experience. There is 
no joy on earth like a glorious protracted meeting, 
and were it not for the frequent reactions they would 
be more numerous. 

In 1840 Elgin received Sias Bolles, who had 
just come from the Genesee Conference. Brother 
Bolles began his work, and at once put new life 
into the affairs of the Church. He became noted 
and popular and greatly successful. The year closed 
with one hundred and seventy-four members, and 
William Vallette, a man rather after the Bolles sort, 
was sent to the work. Ever since then Elgin has 
pursued the even tenor of its way. Brother Bolles 
returned to the charge in 1850, and put on a wing 
in the form of an L to the old narrow church, and 
C. M. Woodard, in 1857, made some effort to build 


a new church. After spending three hundred dol- 
lars on drawings, the work failed. In June, 1861, 
when E. Q. Fuller was on the charge, a meeting 
was held commemorative of the establishment of 
Methodism in the place, it being the twenty-fifth 
year of the society's history. Addresses were de- 
livered on "History of Elgin Methodism," by the 
pastor ; on " Pioneer Preachers," by A. D. Field ; 
on " Methodism as It was and is," by H. Crews ; 
and on "Methodist Literature," by J. W. Agard. 
The addresses (excepting our own) were fine, and 
the occasion was one of interest, and one that may 
well be copied by other societies. The Free Meth- 
odist movement interfered with the progress of 
Methodism in Elgin between 1858 and 1862, and 
probably, but for that ill, there would have been a 
good church in Elgin at an earlier day. The new 
brick was finally built in 1869. 

Roscoe in 1840 received M. Bourne, the preacher 
of the year before. The members of the circuit, 
which included the country from Belvidere to 
Beloit, were but seventy-eight. The year closed 
with two hundred and fifty-two members, and 
James McKean was sent to the charge, who closed 
up a year with an increase of eleven members. In 
1842 Belvidere was set off from Roscoe, and O. W. 
Munger sent to the latter work. The appointments 
were Roscoe, Beloit, and a few country appoint- 
ments lying near. 

O. W. Munger was born in Delaware County, 
New York, in 1804, was converted in 1822, soon 
after which he joined the Methodist Episcopal 


Church. After laboring as a local preacher two 
years, in which time he preached two hundred and 
sixty sermons — a great work for a local preacher — 
he was admitted into the New York Conference in 
1836, and continued to travel in that conference till 
1842, when he located, came West, was readmitted 
to the Rock River Conference, and sent to Roscoe. 
He continued to travel regularly until his death in 
1852. In 1851 he was appointed to Wilmington 
Circuit, and September 9, 1852, he died of dysen- 
tery, in peace, in the forty-eighth year of his age. 
He was an active, methodical man, who always per- 
formed the hardest kind of circuit labor. 

John Hodges, full of faith and deep piety, went 
to Roscoe in 1843, and was followed in 1844 by 
Alpha Warren, who came into the conference by 
transfer in 1841, and, previous to going to Roscoe, 
had been at Janesville and Whitewater, in Wis- 
consin. In 1847 he located, and disappears from 
our view. 

In 1845 Zadoc Hall was appointed to Roscoe. 
The Wesleyan disturbance had created great dis- 
affection there, and Brother Hall's gentle manners 
carried them through the storm. None withdrew 
during the year, but many came near doing so. The 
preacher received about eighty members on trial, 
and had a pleasant year. The church at Beloit was 
commenced this year, and Beloit set off as a station. 
Previous to this the appointments were at Roscoe, 
Beloit, Picatonica (Rockton), William Brown's, Lin- 
derman's or Cady's school-house, Charles Babcock's, 
and Harvey Gregory's. Brother Hall says : " This 


was one of the most pleasant circuits I have had 
the pleasure of traveling, composed almost entirely 
of New Yorkers and New England Yankees. I 
think there was but one family from any of the 
Southern States." In 1847 Rockton and Prairie 
School-house are named among the appointments. 
A fine brick church was commenced at Roscoe in 
1848, and finished in 1849, being ahead of most 
churches in the country at that time. In 1856 a 
meeting was held, which did not close until April, 
resulting in more than ninety conversions. 

Rockford commenced the year 1840 a half sta- 
tion, with one hundred and eighty-five members, 
and S. H. Stocking, who had been at Chicago the 
year before, as preacher. Brother Stocking be- 
longed to a family of preachers. Three or four 
brothers have at different times been traveling 
preachers in the State of New York. Sophronius 
H. was admitted into the old Genesee Conference in 
1822, when it embraced nearly all the State of New 
York, with Northern Pennsylvania and two districts 
in Canada, and was admitted to the ranks in which 
stood and marched to the glorious conflicts of that 
day such men as Abner Chase, Asa Abel, George 
Peck, George Gary, Seth Mattison, Elias Bowen, 
John Dempster, George Lane, Horace Agard (father 
of John W. Agard), William Case, John Ryerson, 
Henry Ryan, Philander Smith (late a bishop of 
the Canada Methodist Episcopal Church), Glezen 
Filmore, Zachariah Paddock, Isaac Puffer, and 
Loring Grant. He was appointed junior preacher 
on Tioga Circuit, with George Lane as presiding 


elder. He continued in the Genesee Conference 
until its division in 1828, when he fell into the 
Oneida Conference, where he continued to travel 
until 1838, when he located, to come West. Arriv- 
ing here, he located his large family on Bonus 
Prairie, and was stationed in Chicago in 1839. He 
became one of the most useful and popular preach- 
ers of the conference, and continued to do efficient 
work until 1854, when he superannuated, and soon 
after settled in a pleasant home at Beloit. He was 
about thirty years in the regular work. 
' John Crummer was appointed to Rockford in 
1841. During that Summer a brick school-house 
was erected at the north-east corner of the park, in 
which the Methodists worshiped for some time. 
But during the year the Methodists and Universal- 
ists came into collision. There was a distinct un- 
derstanding, in building the house, that the Meth- 
odists were to use it as a place of worship ; but the 
Unirersalists published an appointment at the same 
hour of the Methodists' appointment. The Meth- 
odists quietly yielded, and the Universalists, having 
got possession and being let alone, died out. 
Brother Crummer moved to the upper part of the 
parsonage, and the lower portion was converted into 
a chapel. John Crummer had been admitted into 
the Illinois Conference in 1836 ; had traveled Min- 
eral Point, Bellevue, Helena, and Milwaukee Cir- 
cuits — all but Bellevue, in Wisconsin. He took a 
superannuated relation in 1847, and in 1849 located, 
and resides at present near Savannah, Illinois. He 
was followed in 1842, at Rockford, by Sias Bolles. 


During this year the society purchased what was 
called the "Old Female Seminary." It was first 
built for a Congregational Church; but the Con- 
gregationalists and Presbyterians uniting on the 
West Side, the building was for sale. It was used 
for a court-house until the Methodists purchased it. 
It was afterwards used for a female seminary, and 
in 1864 was used as a barn. To such uses do the 
first and old churches come. Better a barn, how- 
ever, than a billiard saloon, as became the fate of 
several Chicago churches. There was an increase 
during the year of sixty-one members. 

Brother Bolles was followed in 1843 by R. A. 
Blanchard, and he in 1844 by N. P. Heath. The 
circuit remained the same as in 1841, and noth- 
ing of special interest occurred. N. P. Heath 
was one of those received in 1844 by the addition 
of territory from the Illinois Conference. He 
was raised in Alton, and was one of those 
young men sometimes called " hard cases," and, 
whether he took any part or not, he was present 
with the mob that shot E. P. Lovejoy at Alton, in 
1837. After being powerfully converted, he was 
admitted to the Illinois Conference in 1839, and 
appointed junior preacher on Grafton Circuit, on 
the Alton District. He was sent to Petersburg in 
1840, to Sangamon in 1841, to Athens in 1842, and 
to Mechanicsburg in 1843. From 1844 he contin- 
ued in connection with the Rock River Conference 
until 1853, when he went to California. After 
doing effective work there a few years, one year as 
presiding elder, he returned to Illinois in 1857, and 


was stationed at Dixon. In 1858 he was the third 
time appointed to Rockford (Third Street), and at 
the end of the year 1860 he located and settled near 
Paris, Illinois, but in 1865 appeared to be travel- 
ing in the Indiana Conference, being stationed at 
New Albany. Before the new class of preachers 
came up, and about the time of his departure for 
California, Mr. Heath ranked among the popular 
and first men of the conference. Dark in com- 
plexion, stout in build, eloquent in manner, restive 
in disposition, he did well where things moved 
smoothly ; but wherever opposition occurred, he met 
with perplexity, and his will often brought him into 
difficulties. In the days of his last connection with 
the conference a new race of men and order of 
things had arisen, and Brother Heath began to feel 
that he was not as much at home as in other days, 
and under somewhat of a discouraged spirit he 
located. He was one of the brave men of the work 
in the middle days of the Rock River Conference's 
history. Long will his memory live in his old field ! 
We know not which would have felt most honored, 
but at the conference of 1864 every body was mak- 
ing remarks upon the striking resemblance between 
Bishop Kingsley and our old-time co-laborer, N. P. 

Sycamore received L. S. "Walker and Nathan- 
iel Swift in 1840. Mr. Swift was among the 
number of those who were received on trial at the 
first Rock River Conference. He was young, am- 
bitious, zealous, and acceptable. He preached the 
next year on Crystal Lake Circuit, on Wheeling in 



1842, and in 1845 located, and settled in Wisconsin. 
He was readmitted into- the Wisconsin Conference 
in 1862, and located again in 1864. 

Sycamore Circuit had been cut down to a con- 
venient size, and the appointments of the year will 
give an idea of its size for ten or more following 
years. These were at Sycamore, where preaching 
was first commenced this year ; Union Grove, Brush 
Point, White's School-house, Genoa, Lee's Mill, 
Blood's Point, Shattuck's Grove, Charter Grove, 
Chicken Grove, Lily Lake ; Emick School-house, 
now Plato Center, the school-house being named 
after the father of Myron Emick, the scout, who 
took to Porter's fleet the first news of Sherman's 
safe arrival near Savannah, in 1864. This year a 
parsonage was finished, the frame of which had been 
put up the year before. This was probably at Syc- 
amore. In June, 1841, a glorious camp-meeting 
was held on Stephen Archer's farm, near Plato Cen- 
ter, attended by the Methodists from the settlements 
up and down Fox River. There came, in the vigor 
of their ministerial manhood, J. T. Mitchell, the 
presiding elder, of commanding form ; Sias Bolles, 
winning all hearts to himself; William Kimball, 
with swaying eloquence ; S. H. Stocking, with silver 
tongue ; Ora A. Walker, with good cheer and zeal ; 
M. Bourne, with quiet mien ; Daniel Brayton, with 
venerable presence; and others. In the hands of 
these men the meeting was most powerful. The 
favorite song was one revived twenty years after, 
and sung so much in Sunday-schools in 1860, — 
" I have a Father in the promised land." 


There has probably never been a meeting like 
this in the bounds of the conference. Sinners came 
flocking to the altar in good earnest from time to 
time, and at almost every meeting many were car- 
ried away in that strange, abnormal, cataleptic state 
witnessed so often in the early day. Old Method- 
ists speak of the meeting to this day with ardent 
words. No one could have seen J. T. Mitchell 
there, and not have marked him as a Methodist 

In 1841 H. W. Frink was on the circuit, and in 
1842 John Crummer and Isaac Searles. Mr. 
Searles had been received into the conference in 
1841, and appointed with W. Weigley to Indian 
Creek. He was in 1844 at Rock Island, in 1845 
at Union Grove, and in 1846 at Buffalo Grove. In 
1847 he went into the bounds of the Wisconsin 
Conference, and in 1865 still traveled in Wisconsin. 
He has served several years as presiding elder. 
J. Crummer returned in 1843 with Wm. Gaddis, 
the eloquent, child-like Irishman, as colleague. 
They were followed in 1844 by S. F. Denning. 
The circuit during these five years saw many ups 
and downs, suffering more for want of churches 
than from any thing else. In 1845 we have the 
following additional appointments on the Sycamore 
Circuit: Holbrook's, Sawin's, Temple's, Kendall's 
School-house, and Ohio Grove. The preaching at 
Sycamore was in the court-house. The leaders were : 
At White's School-house, E. F. White ; at Brush 
Point, Brother Lafferty ; at Genoa, Brother Maltby ; 
at Charter Grove, Brother Jewell ; at Holbrook's, 


William Holbrook. The other leaders were Robert 
Robb, Sawin, Rowley, William Kendall, William 
Arnold, Ladd, and Daniel Walrod. The local 
preachers were Thomas Woolsey, a worthy and 
useful brother ; William Holbrook, Brother Mal- 
lory, and Daniel Walrod, who was leader at Syca- 
more. There were in 1865 in the old circuit, 
Sycamore, Chicken Grove, Genoa, and Kingston 
charges, not to mention the new points that have 
grown up along the Fulton Railway. Sycamore, 
several years ago, became a station, leaving all the 
appointments of the old circuit on the circuits just 
mentioned. A church was dedicated in 1848. The 
preaching had previously been in the court-house. 




MILFORD CIRCUIT was one of the arrange- 
ments of 1839. In that year the northern 
portion of Ottawa Circuit, east of Fox River, was 
set off into this new work, and Elihu Springer sent 
on as preacher. The circuit included the country 
from Milford, twenty miles above Ottawa, to York- 
ville, and across to Plainfield. The west side of 
the river was formed into Indian Creek Circuit, to 
which Wesley Batchellor was appointed. Milford 
began its second year (1840) with the return of E. 
Springer. The circuit was greatly blessed with a 
good revival, when there were many conversions. 
Plainfield especially shared in the glorious showers 
of grace. " Such displays of divine power," says 
S. R. Beggs, " we seldom see, as was witnessed both 
among the professors and the unconverted. All de- 
nominations joined together in the meeting." The 
year closed up in 1841, with two hundred and thirty- 
five members, and Rufus Lummery and Harvey 
Hadley appointed to the charge. Mr. Hadley was 
received into the Illinois Conference in 1839. He 
traveled Vermilion, Bristol, and Princeton Circuits, 
and located in 1843. Settling at Princeton, he 


began the practice of dentistry. He was afterwards 
readmitted, but, indulging in improper conduct, was 
suspended in 1850, after which he located, and went 
to California in 1852 or 1853. 

R. R. Wood, who was on the circuit in 1842, 
was received into the conference this year. He 
passed into Wisconsin, and in 1848 was sent by his 
presiding elder into the pineries of Black River. 
A large settlement of laborers in that country held 
a meeting to call a preacher. A committee was ap- 
pointed, one of whom professed to be an infidel, to 
raise a subscription, and each subscriber was to 
name the sort of preacher he desired. A large, al- 
most unanimous, majority voted for a Methodist, and 
word was sent to Henry Summers, of the Plattville 
District, making known their desires. The letter 
said they desired a Methodist, because he would be 
apt to have more " go-aheaditiveness " about him 
than any other. R. R. Wood was sent, who went 
into the country, where there was not one praying 
soul. Mr. Wood continued to travel for several 
years, but finally located. 

S. F. Denning was appointed to Milford in 1843. 
The parsonage and residence of the preacher was at 
Plainfield. The appointments were at Plainfield; 
Gleason's Ridge, seven miles from Plainfield ; at 
Plattville on Sunday evenings, at Brother Piatt's 
house; at Cryder's, twelve miles south-east of Plain- 
field ; in Morris, at the court-house ; at Olmsted's 
school-house, twelve miles down the river from 
Morris ; at a school-house near Elder John Sin- 
clair's, on Fox River; in Norwegian Settlement; 


at Milford, where there was a church ; Newark ; in 
school-house at Lisbon ; Collins Grove ; Oswego ; 
Groom's School-house ; and at Tillsworth Grove. 
Brother Denning organized the first class at Lisbon, 
consisting of seven members; Jervis More, leader. 
In 1844 Mr. Denning was followed by S. R. Beggs 
and John Hunter, who came into conference this 
year, and retired after trying the work for one 
year — one of the multitude of evanescent names 
that get into print in the Minutes, to disappear in 
a year or more. Brother Beggs, with soul of fire, 
was then in his prime. They had good revivals all 
over the circuit, " especially in Plainfield." That 
Plainfield has been from the first one of the favored 
fields of Methodism. Wherever we have done our 
duty and built churches we have prospered. The 
bones of the old hero of Methodism, Jesse Walker, 
may well sleep in quietness in the Plainfield cem- 
etery while his sons in the Gospel speed the good 
work. At the end of the year three hundred and 
thirty-five members were reported. In 1848 there 
were good revivals at Lisbon and Plainfield, under 
A. Wooliscroft, who, with James Leckenby, was 
appointed to the circuit in 1847. In 1848 the name 
of the circuit was changed to Newark, and the 
northern portion taken off to form Plainfield Cir- 
cuit. Newark, which has ever, since been the 
head-quarters of a pleasant and prosperous circuit, 
is a thriving country village, where there has been 
a prosperous society for years. There was an ap- 
pointment there in 1843. The church, which was 
commenced in 1853, was dedicated by Hooper Crews, 


January 20, 1855. In 1852 the preaching was in 
the Congregational Church, and W. R. Irvine lived 
in the Methodist parsonage there at that time. It 
is noted as the boyhood home of Bishop C. H. 

We left Joliet in 1840 in charge of W. Weigley. 
He continued in charge two years, closing up with 
one hundred members. The work was now a half 
station, but a weak one, with a few outside appoint- 
ments. M. Bourne, a young man then in the vigor 
of Christian zeal, went to Joliet in 1841, and passed 
a profitable year. The circuit embraced Hickory 
Creek, Brother King's, and Aaron More's. There 
was a small church at Joliet in good repair, with 
about forty members. The leading men were Mr. 
O'Hardy, Mr. McCollum, Levi Jenks,and Mr. Mack. 
" Men of the right stamp," says their preacher, 
" whole-souled ; paid twenty-five to sixty dollars 
apiece." In 1842 the place went into the large 
circuit, in which condition it continued till 1851. 

Brother Bourne was followed by E. Springer 
and Simon K. Lemon, a useful young brother, who 
was received into conference in 1841, and who trav- 
eled, besides Joliet, Wilmington, Princeton, and 
Prophetstown Circuits, and who located in 1846. In 
1843 S. R. Beggs, Levi Jenks, and James Leck- 
enby, a zealous trio, were sent to the circuit, which 
embraced Joliet, Channahon, Jackson's Grove, 
Reed's Grove, Wilmington, Forked Creek, Rock 
Creek, Bourbonois Grove, Bebee's, Yellow Head 
(at which place they preached in Brother Morrison's 
house), Crete or Thorn Creek, Owen's, Francis', 


Hickory Creek, and Lockport, — a large six-weeks' 
circuit, being nearly identical with the present 
Joliet District. It was a year of great religious 
interest ; revivals were general. The members were 
in the spirit of the work, and united heartily with 
the preachers. At Keed's Grove Brother Beggs 
commenced a meeting, which continued about three 
weeks. It was in progress but a few days, when 
the "cloud" began to rise, and the inquiry seemed 
to be general among the hardest cases, " What must 
I do to be saved?" "I asked one man," says 
Brother Beggs, " how he felt about his soul's wel- 
fare. He answered, ' I feel first-rate.' " The 
preacher besought him to seek the Lord. When 
he left his convictions were so deep he concluded, 
the next morning, which was the Sabbath, he would 
work his conviction off; but he had no power to 
shove the plane. He left his work to spend the 
day with as hard a case as himself; but his friend 
had gone to the meeting. His only chance for com- 
pany was at the meeting, and that evening he, with 
many others, was forward for prayers, and before the 
meeting closed he was powerfully converted. He 
arose to speak, and said : " Brother Beggs asked 
me last evening how I felt. I told him I felt first- 
rate ; but I lied. I did not feel first-rate ; I felt 
miserable !" There was one person, who was very 
serious and sincere, forward for prayers, who would 
not kneel. He said if the Lord would convert him 
at all, he could do it as well while he was sitting 
as though he were kneeling. And there he sat, 

night after night, until the meeting closed, and then 



he went away, apparently unsaved. When we set 
the Lord terms, we generally fail ! The meeting 
closed with thirty conversions. The preacher hast- 
ened home to make some provisions for his family, 
and then hastened to Brother Francis's, on Hickory 
Creek, to begin the conflict in that quarter. He set 
to work on Friday evening, and at ten o'clock Mon- 
day the good work began. The private house in 
which the meetings were held became too small, 
and the meetings were moved to a new house, 
just sided up, belonging to a Brother Cooper. 
Although it was very cold, by placing a large stove 
in the center of the room, and keeping up a good 
fire in the fireplace, they managed to keep warm. 
They cared not to be saving of wood; for it was 
not then ten dollars a cord. The meeting was glo- 
rious. One large woman, all at once, commenced 
raising her hands and bringing them down upon 
her lap with great violence, exclaiming, " I am 
lost ! I am lost ! lost !" No one could make her 
hear a word, and long her anguish continued. At 
last she was powerfully converted, which she soon 
made known, now by tears, then by shouts of 
thanksgiving. The meeting closed in a week with 
fifty conversions. The converts all joined the 
Church ; for Brother Beggs gave opportunity to 
join as fast as they were converted. 

While Brother Beggs held these meetings the 
other preachers were having great success on other 
portions of the circuit. After closing at Hickory 
Creek, Mr. Beggs rested one day, and then set to 
work, commencing on Friday evening at Lockport. 


The meeting there at first was dry and dull. The 
Congregationalists had been holding a meeting, 
with poor success, and the wicked were prophesying 
that Mr. Beggs would fail also. By the kindness 
of Mr. Porter, pastor of the Congregationalist soci- 
ety, the meetings were held in their church. The 
members took hold, and after a few evenings " the 
shout of the King was heard in the camp," and the 
work commenced in earnest. Brother Beggs found 
his greatest success was in visiting from house to 
house, talking and praying with the people. One 
night, after meeting, the preacher was snugly sleep- 
ing at the house of Dr. Wise, when a messenger 
came to arouse him. He went to Joel Manning's, 
and found Jane Manning pleading for pardon. 
They began a prayer-meeting, which was kept up 
till a late hour ; but the pleading penitent did not 
find peace. Herself and sister, however, were con- 
verted before the meeting broke up. Jane has since 
gone to her heavenly home, dying happy in the 
Lord. For miles up the river the people came 
down to the meeting, and found peace in believing. 
Brother Shoemaker, at Reed's Grove, was hauling 
grain to Chicago. He would put up four miles 
above Lockport, on his way to the city, come down 
to the meeting, sing and pray and labor, the next 
day would go on to Chicago, and return to the 
meeting at night. The next day he would go 
home for his load, and be back at the meeting in 
the evening. He continued this routine for a week 
or two. Such is the love of a converted man for a 
glorious meeting! The good work went on at 


Lockport for two weeks, resulting in about thirty 
conversions. Levi Jenks held a successful meeting 
at Channahon, and S. R. Beggs at Morrison's, at 
Yellow Head. From these meetings the preachers 
and people gathered at Joliet for a quarterly- 
meeting. S. H. Stocking, the elder, preached with 
power, and, an opportunity being given, mourners 
came forward, and a glorious revival followed. 
The year ended with an increase of ninety-four 

Princeton in 1840 received J. M. Snow as 
preacher, and in 1841 Wesley Batchellor and Mr. 
Snow were the preachers. In 1842 Harvey Hadley 
and S. F. Denning were appointed to the work. 
Mr. Denning had just been received on a recom- 
mendation from Princeton charge, and will fre- 
quently appear in these pages. He exchanged the 
relation of class-leader at Princeton for that of 

The appointments on Princeton Circuit in 1842 
were at Princeton ; Center Grove ; West Bureau ; 
near Solomon Sapp's, where they built a new church 
this year ; Tiskilwa School-house ; French Grove, 
seventeen miles west of Princeton ; at Father Ellis's, 
six miles north of Princeton ; Master's School- 
house ; in Knox's house, at Knox Grove ; at Brother 
Hart's house, five miles north of Lamoille; Troy 
Grove School-house ; at a village south side of 
Troy Grove ; at Searles's settlement, eight miles 
east of Princeton ; and Green River, twenty miles 
west of Princeton. It was a year of long rides 
and sufficient labor, and of some prosperity. The 


next year (1843) H. Hadley continued in charge, 
with S. K. Lemon as colleague. A church was 
commenced in Princeton in 1844, which was in- 
closed and partly finished, so that it was soon used 
as a place of worship. Methodism there has had 
to make its way against many discouragements, 
until 1864, when the society worshiped in a humble 
house fronting on a lane. Besides, the place was 
largely settled by New Englanders, and Owen Love- 
joy, being the pastor of the Congregational Church, 
gave that denomination the ascendency. When our 
Church was trammeled with slavery, our preachers, 
as was to be expected, met with much opposition in 
Abolition Princeton. But at length the Methodism 
of Princeton has redeemed itself by the erection 
of one of the finest churches in the country. 

In 1850 George Lovesee preached two Sabbaths 
out of three in Princeton. The out appointments 
were Dover, West Bureau, Sinclair Chapel (com- 
pleted in 1850), Applegate's Church (of logs), and 
Esquire Searles's. Under direction of their pastor, 
W. C. Willing, a very neat and commodious church 
was built in 1864. The corner-stone was laid July 
24, 1863 ; address by Rev. C. H. Fowler ; dedicated 
by T. M. Eddy and J. H. Vincent, January 23, 
1864. At the close of this year (1864) the follow- 
ing report was made by the pastor: One hundred 
and forty-nine members, a church worth $12,000, 
mission money collected, $53.00, and a Sunday- 
school with one hundred and seventy-five scholars. 
The society began the year 1864 with an efficient 
pastor, N. H. Axtel. One of their most active men 


died in December, 1864. George H. Phelps, son of 
Rev. A. E. Phelps, was superintendent, steward, and 
general worker, and in his death the Church met 
with a serious loss. Since then the Princeton ap- 
pointment has been one of the best. The confer- 
ence met there in 1877. 

Buffalo Grove, at the time one of the most im- 
portant appointments in the conference, received in 
1840 Asa McMurtry and Richard A. Blanchard as 
preachers. Mr. Blanchard was raised in Western 
New York, as we have seen, and came to the Mt. 
Morris Conference with recommendations from 
Lima Seminary, in which institution he had spent 
some time in study, preparing for the ministry. He 
was admitted this year, thus beginning his minis- 
terial career with the history of the conference. 
From this time he will often appear in our pages. 
Never brilliant as a preacher, he has performed 
most efficient service in building up societies, in 
conducting revival meetings, and as a presiding 
elder. Ever safe, ever on hand, he was one of the 
reliable men of the conference. 

The appointments were, in 1841, at Buffalo 
Grove, where there was a class of thirty in 1840; 
Mt. Morris ; Westfield ; Byron ; North Grove 
School-house, where, in 1847, the writer made his 
first attempt at preaching ; Leaf River ; Oregon ; 
Grand de Tour ; Elkhorn Grove ; Pine Creek ; Gap 
Grove ; and Stirling. In 1842 the name was 
changed to Mt. Morris; but, the circuit being di- 
vided in 1843, there continued to be a Buffalo 
Grove Circuit, and the name appears regularly on 


the Minutes until 1857. About 1853 the Central 
Railway commenced running its cars through the 
center of the circuit. The young stations, becom- 
ing centers, absorbed the classes, and by 1857 the 
work assumed an entirely new phase. Polo sprung 
up about a mile and a half from old Buffalo Vil- 
lage, near the home of George Wilcoxon, and, 
though there was a church and parsonage at Buf- 
falo, the appointment was moved to Polo. The 
western portion received the name of Milledgeville 
Circuit, and Buffalo Grove as an appointment dis- 
appears. The appointments of the circuit in 1853, 
before it had been disturbed by the new towns, 
were at Buffalo Grove, Eagle Point, Stevens's 
Church, Black-oak Grove, Stirling, Como, Sugar 
Grove, and Canada Settlement. 

Galena, discouraged, with an unfinished church 
and a heavy debt on hand, received from the Mt. 
Morris Conference one of the most efficient minis- 
ters of the day in the person of Josiah W. Whipple. 
He was the Peter Borein of the western part of the 
conference, and was a retiring, agreeable, pious man, 
and an efficient worker. During the year efforts 
were made to complete the church. A meeting of 
the male members was called one afternoon, when 
it was agreed that each lay member should raise 
fifty dollars towards the church. Besides this, a 
committee was appointed to collect money from out- 
siders. The work was resumed, and in the Summer 
of 1841 the brick church, which, in the Summer of 
1861, was used by the United Presbyterians, was 
finished, and at a quarterly-meeting dedicated by 


John Clark, the presiding elder. Some of the 
funds were collected in different parts of the con- 
ference by Brother Whipple. A camp-meeting was 
held in 1841, near Galena, supported by Galena 
and the Apple River Circuit. Mr. Whipple com- 
menced the year with sixty-eight members, and 
closed with eighty-four, and was succeeded by Rob- 
ert Y. McReynolds, who continued in the charge 
but a portion of the year, leaving the place to be 
supplied by local preachers. In 1842 H. AV. Reed, 
the pioneer of Iowa Methodism, was preacher; in 

1843, Sias Bolles. During the year Brother Bolles 
was at Galena a gracious revival pervaded the city. 
For many weeks in 1844 the church was crowded 
every evening. Over two hundred persons were 
added to the Church, so that three hundred and 
thirty members were reported at conference in 1844, 
at the end of Brother Bolles's year. This great in- 
crease induced a movement to form a second charge ; 
but the attempt proved unsuccessful for the time. 

Feancis T. Mitchell succeeded Sias Bolles in 

1844. He was a brother of James and John T. 
Mitchell, and had been admitted to the conference 
in 1841, being appointed to Kenosha. Galena was 
his last charge in the conference. He located in 
1847, and some time after emigrated to Missouri. 
There he became one of the most eloquent political 
orators of the State, running for Congress in 1859 
on what was called the Union ticket, against the 
more ultra Democrats, but was not elected. That 
is the last we have known of him. 

The new circuits constituted between 1840 and 


1845 were Lake, Wheeling, Naperville, Lockport, 
Portland, and Stevenson, in 1840 ; Belvidere, Sugar 
River, Peru, Mt. Morris, and Union Grove, in 1842; 
Daysville or Lighthouse, in 1843; and Dundee, St. 
Charles, McHenry, and Beebe's Grove, in 1844. 

A class was organized on North Prairie, in the 
town of Benton, Lake County, in October, 1837, 
consisting of ten members, and preaching was sup- 
plied them from Racine Mission. There was preach- 
ing in the neighborhood as early as the Summer of 
1836, and we have seen that the Des Plaines Circuit 
in 1837 extended from Aurora, on Fox River, up to 
the north-east corner of the State. There were sev- 
eral appointments in Lake County, along the Des 
Plaines ; but in 1839 it is probable most of these 
were embraced in the Southport (Kenosha) Mission. 
Lake Circuit in 1840 embraced all Lake County, 
with William Gaddis as the preacher. In 1847 the 
name was changed to Little Fort, and S. F. Den- 
ning and James Selking as a supply were the 
preachers. Little Fort, which in 1849 became 
Waukegan, was a little village that had had a name 
since 1835. In 1840 it became one of the chief 
appointments on the circuit, and gave name to the 
charge. The appointments for 1847 were Wau- 
kegan, Brookline, North Prairie, East Class, Peck's 
Class (at Millbrook), Underwood's School-house, 
Libertyville, Angola School-house, Sand Lake (in 
a log school-house), Fox Lake, Loon Lake, Fort 
Hill, and Antioch. In 1849 Waukegan became a 
station, and the name of the circuit was changed 
to Libertyville, which name it retained until 1855, 


when the work was divided by a line running 
directly west from Waukegan. Previous to the 
division there was a parsonage at Libertyville 
and a small church, the only Methodist church in 
Lake County outside Waukegan. At the division 
in 1855 the southern half retained the old name 
Libertyville, and retained Elijah Stone as preacher ; 
the northern half was called Antioch, and A. D. 
Field appointed to the work. The name was 
changed to the old, time-honored " Lake Circuit " 
in 1857, and has ever since retained nearly the same 
form. In 1855 the preaching- places were at Ben- 
ton, in the Simmons neighborhood, where they had 
worshiped for years in an old frame school-house. 
During the Winter of 1856 a neat new school-house, 
fitted for Church purposes, was built. The mem- 
bers were : Harrison L. Putnam, a very efficient 
Church worker ; I. Simmons and family, G. S. Day, 
and others, at a school-house five miles north-west 
of Waukegan, called York House. There had been 
a tavern at this place in the early day, called by this 
name. During the Summer we changed the ap- 
pointment to the Baptist church. Joseph Ware, an 
old New York Methodist, formerly from the Isle of 
Man, and Daniel Ware, his son, were the leading 
members. The class is since broken up, the mem- 
bers going to Waukegan to Church. The third ap- 
pointment was on the Sand Ridge, in a frame school- 
house, five miles directly north of Waukegan. Here 
was a class of efficient workers, chiefly English, 
several of them Youman by name. The fourth ap- 
pointment was at Hickory Post-office, where there 


was one of the oldest and most prominent societies. 
The school-house was burned during the year by 
persons who thought it not in the right place, and 
a new board concern was put up. Here were ex- 
cellent class-meetings. Brothers G. H. Webb, Sam- 
uel Hall, and William Wells, with their families, 
were the chief members. The next preaching-place 
was at Sand Lake, where George Shottswell was 
leader. Here were some of the best and most faith- 
ful members we ever met with. We worshiped in 
an old log school-house, in which we had many fine 
meetings. W. W. Peck, A. Smith, and the leader 
above mentioned were the leading members. Many 
of them enjoyed the fullness of the blessing of the 
Gospel of peace. The other appointments were 
at Richards's School-house, Antioch, and at Fox 
Lake, where there was quite a revival in the 
Winter of 1856. During a portion of the year 
Richard K. Anderson, a very efficient brother, just 
from Cherry Street, New York, labored as a supply. 
A portion of the time the local preacher, T. D. 
Gail, and Mr. Anderson worked on a regular plan. 
In 1857 a parsonage was built at Sand Lake, and 
in 1864 the preacher in charge reported two hun- 
dred and forty members, one hundred and fifty dol- 
lars mission money, five Sunday-schools, with two 
hundred and forty scholars. 

Wheeling is an old town, about fifteen miles 
north-west of Chicago. From time to time it gave 
name to a circuit embracing the country around. 
William Royal, when on the Fox River Mission in 
1835, formed the class at Wheeling, in the Summer 


of 1836. The names of the members were Charles 
Wisencraft (leader) and wife, Bradwell and wife, 
and a Sister Filkins. In 1845 the name was 
changed to Elk Grove, and again to Wheeling, 
which name it retained till 1858, when the old 
and honorable circuit became divided up into new 
charges. In 1857 the appointments were at Elk 
Grove Church, where there was a great revival 
under Thomas Cochran during the year ; Deer Grove 
School-house ; Barrington's School-house ; school- 
house at Lake Zurich ; in Wauconda Church ; Fair- 
field Church ; in a school -house at Palatine, where 
there was a glorious revival, and where the preacher 
organized the first class and commenced building a 
church in 1858 ; at Dunton, in the chamber of an 
old store, where there was a class organized this 
year; and at Buifalo Grove School-house. During 
the year a camp-meeting was held on John Clark's 
farm, in Fairfield, where many were converted. The 
circuits from 1840 to 1858 included most of the 
country through which the gigantic North-western 
Kailway runs, from Chicago to Fox River. It is 
now cut up into as many as a dozen small charges. 
Portland is another of those charges that ap- 
peared in the period we are reviewing. It was 
constituted a circuit at the conference of 1840, and 
William Vallette sent on as preacher. This charge, 
which in 1848 took the name of Prophetstown, em- 
braced the settlements along the east side of Rock 
River, from Prophetstown down to the Rock Island 
Railway. It has had some of the best laborers and 
labors, but has seen many hard days. The appoint- 


ments have usually been in poor school-houses, and 
by some means there have been few improvements 
in the country, so that the old Prophetstown Cir- 
cuit from 1840 to 1860 remained stereotyped. The 
only thing of note in that period was the building 
of a fine church in the southern portion of the cir- 
cuit in 1860, near the Rock Island Railway. 

Among the circuits appearing in 1842 was Sugar 
River, with Alfred M. Early, who had been re- 
ceived into the conference the year before, as 
preacher. The circuit embraced all that country 
lying around Harrison, Shirland, and Durand. One 
of the best appointments was in the Seaton neigh- 
borhood near the present Shirland Station, where 
there has been a class and preaching since 1837. 
The appointments were in the Freeport Circuit of 
the year before, many of the appointments being 
established by James McKean in 1836. In a few 
years the name was changed to Medina, and has 
since, like most of the old circuits, been broken up 
into small charges. In 1843 there were two hun- 
dred and thirty members. 

Peru has had a curious fate. Sometimes the 
Methodist Episcopal Society has prospered, some- 
times languished. It first appeared in connection 
with Ottawa in 1842, and as a separate charge, with 
John W. Agard as preacher, in 1845. There was a 
preaching appointment there and at Lasalle, two 
miles east of Peru, in 1833, but when the class at 
Peru was first organized we can not tell. "When 
we visited the place in 1848 there was a little frame 
church, uncouth and dingy. The town itself was 


given to billiard tables, which were displayed as 
openly as a fruiterer's tables. 

When R. A. Blanchard went to Peru in 1850 
there were only about forty members, and few of 
these had any means. The little church had been 
built about twelve years. It was inclosed and 
whitewashed outside and plastered within. But 
there was no altar, and no seats but old-fashioned 
benches with no backs; no lights but candles, and 
the house as untidy as a hotel kitchen. At the first 
meeting there was a congregation of about thirty. 
At the close of the first sermon the preacher told 
the society he had come to try to do them good and 
build up the church. They expected him to call 
out a congregation, but this he said no man could 
do with such a house. He said it was not worth 
while for him to stay at their expense unless some- 
thing could be done, but if they would finish the 
house he would stay and do the best he could. 
Frederick Day, the only member who had any 
property, told Mr. Blanchard to get lumber and 
workmen on his account and fit up the place to 
suit himself. By Monday night lumber and work- 
men were on the spot. The church was finished 
up by the time the first quarterly-meeting came on, 
and during the year there was a full attendance and 
many additions to the Church. 

After this things went on at their usual rate 
until 1853, when the society undertook grand things. 
Hon. Martin P. Sweet, who had been in New 
York a De Ruyter " Perfectionist " preacher, settled 
as a prominent lawyer at Freeport. He became a 


leading political orator, and once or twice ran for 
Congress, but being so unlucky as to be on the 
wrong ticket always he never went to Washington 
unless as a " lobby " member. We have a charge 
against that district, for by refusing to send Sweet 
to Congress they gave to the Rock River Confer- 
ence an unfitting preacher. In 1851 there was a 
sweeping revival at Freeport, and Martin P. Sweet 
joined the Methodist Episcopal Church. Imme- 
diately he came to conference for admission. Being 
received he at once took a popular position in the 
Church. At Peru in 1853 he drew the crowd after 
him and things began to look up. The feeble so- 
ciety, relying on the outside tide to float them over 
all bars, set about building a grand church which 
could never be completed. Debts accumulated too 
heavy to be met, and the days of Peru Methodism 
for the time were numbered. The society lingered 
along, having the efficient E. Q. Fuller in 1857, 
fresh from the Northwestern editorial office, and the 
impetuous D. C. Howard in 1858, until the church 
was sold and the name of Peru left out of the Min- 
utes. But Peru Methodism must be resurrected. That 
standard that falls before no difficulties must, car- 
ried by a conquering hand, again be planted on the 
Peruvian walls. May the great head of the Church 
grant this result. This refers to 1865. 

In 1843 the Buffalo Grove Circuit was divided 
and the eastern portion called Mt. Morris Cir- 
cuit, with C. N. Wager as preacher. There was an 
appointment and a class in the Maryland Settle- 
ment, and a good school in 1838. The neighbor- 


hood of Mt. Morris was settled by people from 
Maryland, and the village was laid out and named 
in 1839, after the site of the Rock River Seminary 
was fixed at its present location. The seminary 
building was put up in 1841 and the chapel in the 
basement became a convenient church. The his- 
tory of Methodism in Mt. Morris and that of Rock 
River Seminary are so closely interwoven they are 
one. From the time of the formation of the cir- 
cuit in 1843 for fifteen years or more the charge 
had about the same limits. 

There were appointments at Oregon, Byron, Leaf 
River, North Grove, and Mt. Morris, at each of 
which places there were large and prosperous classes. 
In these out appointments many of the men of the 
Rock River Conference made their first attempts at 
preaching while students at the seminary. North 
Grove was especially the place of commencement 
of many. The first sermon of the present writer 
was preached there in July of 1847. The text was, 
"Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" Losing 
command of ourself we plunged about, wildly run- 
ning over the whole Bible for matter, and so thor- 
oughly was all material for sermonizing used up the 
heart-stricken preacher hardly knew where another 
sermon was to come from. H. L. Martin also began 
his useful career in the old long log school-house. 
Mt. Morris after the first conference was held there 
at once became one of the main appointments. 
There were first undertaken systematic missionary 
operations. In 1847 the Mt. Morris class alone 
raised one hundred dollars, which was a notable 


sum for those days. In July, 1849, Bishop Janes, 
after preaching a graceful sermon, laid the corner- 
stone of a church, but at the conference of 1850 
there came a proposition from the citizens to put 
four thousand dollars into a seminary building if 
the conference would pledge the same amount. The 
conference in a furor pledged the sum required, 
and the larger and newer building was erected. 
The conference, however, we fear did not meet its 
engagement. The new building inclosed a church, 
which has ever since been used by the Mt. Morris 
Society. This chapel was dedicated on the last 
Sabbath of June, 1854, Clark T, Hinman preaching 
the sermon. 

That chapel, as well as the old, has been the 
scene of many a revival time. Perhaps the most 
powerful was in 1858. The official members had 
received their preacher, R. A. Blanchard, with an 
ill grace, and spirit rappers were let into the chapel 
on the regular meeting hours. Things looked dark, 
but all at once, without any special effort, to the 
astonishment of all, mourners began to seek religion. 
The work went on until thirty or forty would be 
found at the altar at once. During the Winter over 
two hundred professed religion, eighty of whom 
were students. The preacher began the year with 
one hundred and twenty members, and closed with 
three hundred and thirteen. 

In 1842 the Savannah Circuit, which was some 
sixty miles in length, was divided, and the southern 
portion called Union Grove. Union Grove vil- 
lage stood a mile and a half west of Morrison, and 



was one of the first villages of that country, and 
around it was one of the most important neighbor- 
hoods of the region. There was an appointment 
there as early as 1840, and a parsonage as early as 
1845. The circuit in 1842 lay niostly in White- 
sides County, and had appointments at Union Grove, 
where the church was built in 1855, at Lyndon, 
Kingsbury Grove, Erie, Albany, and Fulton. 
Chester Campbell was the first preacher of the cir- 
cuit. He preached, as was usual at that day, in 
school-houses at most of the appointments. 

Previous to 1843 the Dixon Circuit embraced 
all the territory in the Amboy, Lee Center, Ogle, 
and Light House charges. In 1843 Light House 
Point Circuit was constituted, and called Daysville 
for a year or two. Rockford was reached in 1836 
by the preacher whose head-quarters were near Ot- 
tawa, but the Light House country was first visited 
by preachers from Buffalo Grove. They began 
preaching at Washington Grove in the Fall of 1836. 
The country for miles around was settled by people 
from Lower Canada, many of whom were Metho- 
dists. A log chapel was built on the prairie be- 
tween Washington and Lafayette Groves in 1836, 
and James McKean was about the first one who 
preached in it. It was burned down, it was sup- 
posed by some one out of spite, in 1838, and soon 
after a small frame church, twenty by twenty-six feet, 
was erected on the same site. The log church was 
the third in the bounds of the Rock River Confer- 
ence, and the frame of 1838 the fifth one. Churches 
had been built at Galena in 1833, at Chicago in 


1834, and at Joliet and Plainfield in 1837. The 
members in the neighborhood in 1839 were Isaac 
Rosecrans and wife, Thomas Stoddard and wife, Dr. 
Roe and wife, Aaron Wood and wife, Henry Far- 
well and wife, parents of John V., Charles B., and 
Simeon Farwell, prominent citizens of Chicago. 
There was preaching at the " old chapel," and at 
Light House in Dr. Roe's dwelling. The circuit in 

1843 received L. S. Walker. There were appoint- 
ments before he left the work at Light House; 
"Old Chapel;" Jefferson Grove, two miles west of 
Lane ; Hickory Grove (now Lane) ; Killbuck 
(Linnville); Stillman, at McBride's School-house; 
Daysville; Payne's Point; and White Rock. In 

1844 Brother Walker built a fine brick parsonage 
at Light House. A church was built at the same 
place by Mr. Woodcock in 1846 of grout, a mate- 
rial in very common use in those days. In 1856, 
when H. L. Martin was on the Light House charge, 
neat churches were built and dedicated at Stillman 
and Payne's Point. 

The church at Payne's Point was dedicated De- 
cember 8, 1856, by Luke Hitchcock. From the 
time of the dedication a good work began, which 
ended in a great revival. The appointments in 1856 
were at the Sprowl School-house, Franklin, Light- 
house, Old Chapel, Mt. Pleasant School-house, Ogle, 
Lane, Jefferson's Grove, Brady's Grove, near De- 
ment, Payne's Point, and Stillman. This is the last 
year the circuit covered all this old territory. The 
next year it was contracted in size with appoint- 
ments at Light House, Daysville, Payne's Point, and 


Stillman. As it is one of the first circuits of Rock 
River, so it has ever maintained a reputation for 
liberality and general prosperity. Some of the 
most worthy members we have ever met with were 
on that old, honorable work. 

Dundee gave name to a charge in 1844. Some- 
times, since then, it has been merged in the Elgin 
charge, and sometimes been independent. A fine 
church was built in Dundee through the efforts of 
Nathan Jewett in 1859. In 1853, when Thomas 
Cochran was preacher, the preaching was in the 
Sons of Temperance Hall in Dundee ; in a church 
at Miller's Grove, which was dedicated that year by 
Sias Bolles ; and in a school-house at Algonquin. 

McHeney Ciecuit, embracing appointments 
before included in Crystal Lake Circuit, was con- 
stituted in 1844. A quarterly-meeting was held at 
McHenry in the Spring of 1841, probably the first 
ever held in the place. The appointment was es- 
tablished there in 1839 or 1840. In 1851 the ap- 
pointments of the circuit were at McHenry, Queen 
Ann, Richmond, Solon, English Prairie, North He- 
bron, and Greenwood. A parsonage was built at 
Greenwood in 1850, and a church at Queen Ann 
the same year. A church was built at Ringwood 
in 1854 by the Congregationalists and Methodists. 
The Methodists bought out the Congregationalists, 
and the church was dedicated by J. V. Watson, 
February 22, 1855. 




THERE have been three serious defections in 
the bounds of the conference, — Wesleyanism, 
Mitchellism, and Nazaritism. The second, how- 
ever, was merely a serious Church quarrel, and not, 
like the other two, a secession move. The Meth- 
odist Church in America, like the nation, was 
cradled in the spirit of freedom. Freeborn Gar- 
rettson, one of the first native preachers, when con- 
verted, belonged to one of the first families of 
Maryland ; but of his own accord he freed his 
slaves, and, everywhere, from Baltimore to North 
Carolina, he preached against slavery. This was 
the course pursued by all our early preachers. 
Jacob Gruber was led into a long and tedious law- 
suit for preaching freedom, and Roger Taney, then 
a young lawyer, and yet untainted by the dark 
blotch, pleaded his cause. The defection of the 
Church from true views kept pace with the decline 
of the spirit of freedom in the nation. The inven- 
tion of the cotton-gin set all the South to cotton- 
raising, and slave-labor, becoming valuable, the 
pocket bore sway over national and Church con- 
science. Our Church had its first and greatest vie- 


tories in slave States. First a mild sort of slavery 
was tolerated among members, and then the itiner- 
ants, by marriage or otherwise, began to come into 
possession of slaves, until by degrees our protests 
against slavery grew few and weak. Southern 
ministers ruled in the General Conference, as 
Southern representatives ruled in the American 

But let it be understood that all Churches occu- 
pying Southern soil went as far — if not farther, some 
of them — than the Methodists. No Churches were 
free, unless it were those that never occupied South- 
ern soil. Those Churches should remember this. 
The Congregationalists, the Freewill Baptists, and 
the United Brethren could make capital by refer- 
ence to Methodist slaveholding with impunity ; for 
they had no societies where there was danger of 
contamination. It is not our province to smooth 
over the condition of Church or nation. Heaven 
knows both were bad enough ! There is some apol- 
ogy in the spirit of the times, however. On the 
subject of slavery there was a general silence or an 
implied approval. Men in State and Church re- 
gretted this condition of things ; but they were pow- 
erless to remedy the evil. The conscience of the 
nation was asleep, or seared. Between 1830 and 
1839 England freed all her slaves. The struggle 
for this end awoke responses in this country, and a 
few here and there, as "Abolitionists," lifted up 
their voices; but their fervent utterances were 
choked by the throttling hand of mobs. William 
Lloyd Garrison was mobbed, and obliged to print 


in secret. E. P. Lovejoy was shot at Alton, 111., 
in 1837. To be an "Abolitionist" in the freest 
circles of the North was as bad as infamy. In New 
England many Methodist preachers imbibed the 
Abolition spirit. These would often attend Aboli- 
tion meetings, and make addresses. Two members 
of the General Conference which met at Cincinnati 
in 1836 made speeches at an antislavery meeting, 
and that grave body, after several " whereases," 
passed resolutions condemning the persons. One 
of those resolutions was : 

" Resolved, That they disapprove, in the most 
unqualified sense, of the conduct of two mem- 
bers, . . . who are reported to have lectured in 
this city, recently, upon and in favor of modern 

The strength of the Liberty party increased in 
the nation, and the Abolition spirit gained ground 
in the Church. At last, in the person of Bishop 
Andrew, the Church had a slaveholding bishop. 
The Northern preachers, many of them, refused to 
admit him to his offices in Northern conferences. 
The Church finally aroused itself, and in 1844, in 
effect, deposed the bishop, which caused the divis- 
ion of the Church and the organization of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South. But before 
this was accomplished twenty thousand members, 
from Maine to Illinois, led by Orange Scott, left 
the Church and entered into the True Wesleyan 
organization. These secessions occurred between 
the years 1840 and 1843. Only three members of 
the Rock River Conference went to the Wesleyans. 


They were Robert Delap, William Kimball, and 
Rufus Lummery. 

Rufus Lummery had been admitted into the 
Oneida Conference in 1832, with Jesse T. Peck 
and William C. Larrabee. He came to the Illinois 
Conference in 1836, and was appointed to Ottawa. 
Being of an ardent temperament, and zealous, he 
was useful on all the circuits he traveled, having 
revivals wherever he went. He became infected 
with the Wesleyan plague, and greatly disaffected 
the members of his circuits. In 1842 he was ap- 
pointed to Indian Creek, where he preached against 
the Church so efficiently that at the close of the 
year he gave a large number of disaffected mem- 
bers letters of withdrawal. In 1843 he withdrew 
from the Rock River Conference, and went back to 
Indian Creek as Wesleyan preacher, and the first 
Wesleyan Conference in the West was held on his 
work in 1845. While there, he took those mem- 
bers into the Church to whom he had given letters 
from the Methodist Episcopal Church. For years 
after he continued to be a leading spirit in the 
Wesleyan movements in the West. In 1862 he 
started for Colorado — as a preacher, we believe — 
and, in crossing the Platte River on a raft of logs, 
fell between the logs, and, being hurt by their col- 
lision, he sunk to rise no more. 

William Kimball and Rufus Lummery were, 
during the years of disaffection, on circuits along 
Fox River until their withdrawal, having thus two 
years in which to lead the people astray. Lummery 
was at Indian Creek and Kimball at Bristol. On 


joining the Wesleyans they went to work on their 
old ground, building up the new Church out of the 
materials they wrested from the old Church. Many 
who did not leave the Church became so disaffected 
they were only kept in by the hope of better days. 
A whole class, led by Jonathan Manzer at the Dig- 
gins Settlement, near Harvard, seceded in 1842. The 
first secession in Illinois was in a neighborhood a 
little east of Warrenville. About fourteen persons 
withdrew from the Church. Two men, Chadwick 
and Hadley by name, were the principal leaders. 
There was no regular conference organization in the 
West until 1845, when a conference met at Indian 
Creek in the Autumn of that year. Orange Scott 
was present, to aid in the organization. They built a 
seminary at Wheaton, which has since gone into the 
hands of the Congregationalists. The Church pros- 
pered for awhile ; but as by degrees the old Church 
raised herself to a proper position the Wesleyans 
went out of date, and it is so long since we have 
met with one we know not whether any exist in 
Illinois or not. 

It is due the True Wesleyans to say that there 
has never been a secession with so great a cause. But 
all such movements draw to them the captious, the 
disappointed, the men of one idea, the men who do 
not find a full sphere for their peculiar talents in 
other places ; and in time the men die of their own 
accumulated venom, and the cause fades away. 
Such moves engender " holy " spite and obstinate 
self-will, which is mistaken for zeal for the truth ; 

and not having the pure leaven of Gospel humility, 



they die of enlargement of the brain. Was there 
ever known a secession that succeeded ? Of faction 
born, these moves die of faction on the brain. 
While this is true of most of the members of such 
moves, there are always a few sincere men who re- 
cover themselves, and come back to a better course. 
When at last slavery was dead, many of the leading 
men of the Wesleyan move came back to the Meth- 
odist Episcopal Church. The centenary year 1866 
there was a general movement in this direction. 
Luther Lee and L. C. Matlack were among those who 
returned. The Rock River Conference received in 
the centenary year G. S. Young and F. R. Mastin. 

While upon this matter we may as well finish 
up what we have to say upon the subject of slavery. 
Any one conference is but an item in the general 
move. The history of the anti-slavery reform in one 
conference is essentially that of the same reform in 
other Northern conferences. The Churches and the 
nation came up by degrees to a true position. The 
first action had in the conference was caused by a 
memorial on slavery from Chicago in 1841. This 
memorial was signed by J. H. Scott and Calvin De 
Wolf. The conference selected a committee to re- 
port on the matter, consisting of B. T. Kavanaugh, 
H. Crews, J. Clark, W. Batchellor, and J. T. 
Mitchell. As a relic of the views of that day we 
quote almost entire the report of that committee : 

" That slavery is an evil, which in a high degree 
is detrimental to the interests of the Church, has 
been so long a standing declaration of the Church 
that it is impossible for any candid and enlightened 


mind to mistake the sentiments of our Church upon 
that subject. It is hoped that no new expression 
of sentiment is necessary or desirable. But while 
the Church sees and deplores the existence of evils 
in the land connected with systems of policy and 
institutions of some of the States of this great re- 
public, after much experience and reflection upon 
the subject by a very large majority of the proper 
authorities of our Church from all parts of the 
Union, it is thought highly improper in the minis- 
try or membership of our communion to interfere 
with the powers that be or to agitate the subject is 
calculated to do any amount of injury and offers no 
hope of effecting any good. The recommendations 
of the General Conference of 1836 on this subject, 
formed as they are in wisdom and propriety, ought 
to govern all well disposed members of our con- 
nexion. For these reasons, and many more that 
might be assigned, your committee see no cause 
why you should give a new expression of opinion 
upon a subject upon which our sentiments are so 
well known. If it is intended by the memorialists 
that this conference should take any action upon 
the subject of slavery, your committee are of opin- 
ion that such action would be the exercise of powers 
and prerogatives not delegated to it by the Dis- 
cipline, . . . and on this account action upon this 
subject would be improper. Your committee, there- 
fore suggest the passage of the following: 

"Resolved, That it is inexpedient for this con- 
ference to take any action upon the subject of 


We have given one resolution passed by the 
General Conference in 1836; we submit another 
that the above reference may be understood : 

"Resolved, 2. That they are decidedly opposed 
to modern abolitionism, and wholly disclaim any 
right, wish, or intention to interfere in the civil 
and political relation between master and slave 
as it exists in the slave holding States of this 

The nation and the Church were dumb. The 
conference went to Chicago in 1842 into the very 
nest of disturbing petitioners. 

The conference being near at hand Calvin De 
Wolf came to the conflict with a new memorial 
backed up by a strong body-guard of names. The 
names to this second memorial were, J. E. Brown, 
Charles Turner, Robert Shepherd, J. H. Scott, R. 
P. Hamilton, James Robinson, Christopher Metz, 
J. H. Slayton, Thos. E. Hamilton, Jacob Harris, 
Mrs. L. L. Brown, Mrs. Francis De Wolf, Harriet 
C. Heald, Ellen Shaddle, M. E. Warner, Lucy 
Wentworth, Mrs. Susan Sweet, E. Robinson, Elvira 
Scott, Calvin De Wolf, and John Mountjoy. 

In 1854 the conference got so far as to pass a 
resolution requesting the next General Conference 
to pass a rule forbidding "the buying, selling, or 
holding in bondage human beings for mercenary 

In 1855 they asked for a law hindering the ad- 
mission of slave holders into the Church. 

In 1864 the conference approved of the new 
rule on slavery adopted by the General Conference 


in 1864 forbidding all slaveholding in the Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church. The world moves. Nights 
of error pass, and we of to-day live in grandly 
eventful times. 




LET us return again to Chicago, that great center 
of secular and religious doings. In 1843 
Canal Street Church on the West Side began 
its existence. Iu the early day there was strong 
competition between the village in the vicinity of 
Dearborn Street, where the center of that portion 
of the city was found, and the village on the West 
Side at " the Point ; " and let us remember that 
Methodism had at the first its strong hold on the 
West Side. From thence the society removed to 
Clark Street on the North Side, where the church 
was built in 1834, and finally in 1838 removed to 
the South Side, settling down permanently on the 
site occupied by the church block on Clark Street, 
thus going the rounds, taking, as it were, a pre- 
emption of the positions it was afterwards to hold. 
In 1836 there were three taverns and a liquor shop 
on the West Side, with a small school, which the 
writer attended. In 1843 there were three taverns 
but no store of any kind, not even a groggery. The 
town there was chiefly occupied by the residences — 
humble in themselves — of persons whose business 
was over on Clark or Lake Streets, where at this 
time the whole of the mercantile business of the 


city centered. A. Pierce had a blacksmith shop, 
and Azel Peck a carpenter shop, besides which 
there was no business of any kind transacted on the 
West Side. In the Spring of 1843 P. W. Gates 
put up a temporary building for a foundry on the 
river bank between Washington and Madison Streets, 
and the writer was present at the first furnace heat- 
ing of this noted iron worker. An old dwelling 
house had been fitted up for the Third Ward school- 
room, which stood on Monroe Street between Canal 
and Clinton Streets. Many present Chicago citizens 
"Were educated under the tuition of Mr. Sturtevant 
in this only school-room in West Chicago in that 

We can not now tell when the first Methodist 
class was organized on the West Side. In the Fall 
of 1842 a class met regularly at Mr. Scott's, in a 
stone house on the river a little south of Madison 
Street, and in the Summer of 1843 the class met 
regularly on Sunday morning at the house of the 
leader, A. S. Sherman, on the corner of Washing- 
ton and Clinton Streets. During the same Summer 
a prayer-meeting was held regularly on Wednesday 
evening at the school-house. One Summer evening 
the key could not be found, and by the star light 
we all kneeled down on the green sward and held 
a prayer-meeting, making the evening air resound 
with our songs. During the Winter of 1843, under 
N. P. Cunningham's labors, one hundred and fifty 
joined the Church in Chicago. Many of the new 
as well as the old members resided on the West 
Side, and in the Spring, under the lead of A. S. 


Sherman and James Robinson they set about build- 
ing a church. 

The class and prayer-meetings mentioned above 
were the only religious services of any kind held 
in that part of the city, and after the church was 
completed it stood without a companion until the 
Third Presbyterian Church was erected in 1847. 
The new church commenced stood on the west 
side of Canal Street, between Washington and Ran- 
dolph Streets. It was built after the common pat- 
tern of that day, a low steepleless oblong frame, with 
high pews and pulpit. The work was also carried 
on after the prevailing fashion. Labor was plenty 
and money scarce, and there could be obtained more 
subscriptions paid in labor than money. On the 
First Tabernacle Baptist Church the minister, C. 
B. Smith, worked for days with his own hands. 
Around the rising Canal Street Church gathered 
day after day many volunteers, and every man who 
could handle a saw or chisel was drafted into the 
service. At least two who were afterwards mem- 
bers of the Rock River Conference had a hand in 
the work. These were James McClane and A. D. 
Field, both of whom joined the Church at Clark 
Street during the previous Winter. The work 
went on slowly all Summer, and the church was 
not ready for dedication until New- Year's. The 
leading men in the new organization were A. S. 
Sherman, James Robinson, Thomas George, Charles 
Wissencraft, William Kettlestrings, and others. 
Many of the members of the Clark Street official 
board at the time were Englishmen, and from the 


commencement English views to some extent bore 
rule. Love feast tickets did not go out of date at 
Clark Street until 1844. These views prevailing, 
Chicago, after the English plan, was made a circuit 
at the conference, and, as we have seen, Luke 
Hitchcock and A. Hanson, who were the preachers 
in 1843, alternated between Clark and Canal Streets. 
The preachers arrived in September, but did not 
preach on the West Side until January. On New- 
Year's eve, 1843, we all gathered to the new church 
at seven o'clock for the dedication. The sermon 
was preached by John T. Mitchell, whose brother 
James dedicated Clark Street Church in 1845. We 
do not remember the text, but the sermon was a 
historic sketch of Chicago Methodism, and we took 
our first notes of this veracious history. That dis- 
course, though only ten years after the commence- 
ment of the Church in Chicago, had a wonderful 
effect upon those who had not known the history. 
It seemed an age since Jesse Walker began his 

From this dedication the congregation fol- 
lowed the preachers over to Clark Street, where at 
nine o'clock watch-night services began. Alto- 
gether it was one of the most profitable nights of 
Chicago Methodism. About seventy-five members 
went to Canal Street. During the great revival of 
the Winter of 1845 Canal Street largely shared in 
the ingathering. In 1845 the circuit system was 
discontinued, and Sias Bolles sent to the charge. 
He remained through two prosperous years, adding 
many efficient members to the Church. He re- 


ported one hundred and ninety-six members in 

When Methodism first began its work in St. 
Chaeles we can not fully ascertain. The place 
had been on the list of appointments for many 
years previous to its becoming a separate charge in 
1844. W. Wilcox preached there regularly in 1837 
and William Kimball on Sunday morning once in 
two weeks in 1840. Elihu Springer and William 
Gaddis were appointed to the work in 1844, and 
were followed in 1845 by Salmon Stebbins and L. 
A. Chapin. In 1846 Mr. Stebbins returned alone. 
At this time the circuit included the country on 
both sides of Fox River from St. Charles to Au- 
rora, the appointments being filled one half of the 
time by local preachers. A very good stone church 
with a basement was built in 1842. The basement 
was finished off for a school room, and Thomas 
North, who became a noted member of the Rock 
River Conference, taught a select school in the 
basement, which we attended in the Winter of 1847. 
During this Winter the Church came near an erup- 
tion on account of great excitement on the Masonic 
question. John F. Farnsworth, then a young law- 
yer, more out of sport than mischief, got up a series 
of shows exposing Odd Fellowship. Whether the 
representations were real or no we can not tell, but 
the company of young performers gave what they 
declared were Odd Fellow ceremonies. The expo- 
sition served to arouse indignation in the Churches, 
and the Methodist Church greatly suffered. There 
was an attempt to carry on a protracted meeting, 


but it only resulted in failure. The Congregation- 
alisms were in a quarrel concerning the admission 
of a young lady to their Church, and nearly all 
Winter they held nightly meetings with crowded 
houses wherein such jangling was carried on as the 
town never saw. It being all about nothing, there 
was no ground for settlement. J. P. Vance, a mem- 
ber of the Church on one side, and J. F. Farns- 
worth on the other conducted the quarrel. These 
things put an end to all attempts to hold revival 
meetings. In 1847 Sias Bolles and C. Lazenbee 
"went on to the circuit. The work was down. Cap- 
tiousness prevailed, and the Universalists bore sway. 
The preachers agreed not to name any of these 
things, but to remain firmly by the Gospel work. 
A glorious work commenced and the circuit came 
up out of the wilderness. One of the elders of 
the Congregational Church and his family professed 
conversion and joined the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. This man, J. P. Vance, united with the 
conference in 1849, and received appointments in 
all parts of the work until 1857, when being over- 
taken in liquor (only beer, but that is bad enough) 
he was excluded. In 1850 the appointments were 
at St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Aurora, Big Woods, 
South-west of Aurora on Blackberry Creek, and 
Footville. In 1851 there was a general cutting up 
of the circuit, leaving St. Charles Station, Aurora 
Circuit, with appointments at Big Woods and Black- 
berry Creek, and Geneva, with appointments at 
Batavia and Footville. Since then St. Charles has 
pursued the even tenor of its way, blessed with the 


session of the conference in 1852, and disturbed by 
the secession of the Free Methodists in 1860. 
There was formed the first Free Methodist society 
in the West. 

The districts of 1840 have been given; for the 
remainder of our half decade they were : 

1841. Chicago District, J. T. Mitchell, P. E.; 
Ottawa District, J. Sinclair, P. E.; Mt. Morris Dis- 
trict, S. H. Stocking, P. E. 

1842. Chicago District, H. Crews, P. E.; Rock 
River District, S. H. Stocking, P. E. ; Ottawa Dis- 
trict, J. Sinclair, P. E. ; Mt. Morris District, J. T. 
Mitchell, P. E. 

1843. Chicago District, Hooper Crews, P. E.; 
Rock River District, J. Sinclair, P. E. ; Ottawa 
District, S. H. Stocking, P. E. ; Mt. Morris District, 
J. T. Mitchell, P. E. 

1844. Chicago District, J. R. Goodrich, P. E.; 
Ottawa District, Luke Hitchcock, P. E. ; Mt. Morris 
District, Hooper Crews, P. E. ; Rock River District, 
S. H. Stocking, P. E. 

The Rock River Conference held its second ses- 
sion at Plattville, Wisconsin, it being the first Meth- 
odist conference ever held in the State. The father 
of the Mitchells had settled at Plattville at an early 
day, and it was at this time the most important point 
in Wisconsin Methodism. The conference opened 
August 25th, with Bishop Morris in the chair. John 
T. Mitchell was chosen secretary and James H. 
Goodrich assistant. Otis F. Curtis was reported as 
withdrawn from the Church. He returned to the 
Congregationalists, whence he came. He was a 


good man, but lacked the energy sufficient for the 
stirring times of the West. Allen Huddleson had 
died in great peace in the Indian country, in North- 
ern Wisconsin, " in the midst of devout labors for 
the conversion of the heathen." His bones rest on 
the banks of the Upper Mississippi. This is the 
first death among the noble band constituting the 
first conference; but since he was only a proba- 
tioner, there is no note of this death in the General 
Minutes. There was a report of eighty-four Sun- 
day-schools and one thousand four hundred and 
forty scholars. The conference continued its ses- 
sions until Thursday evening. This was the usual 
length of the sessions for many years. Since then 
the business of the conference has been so reduced 
to system and the bishops work with so much greater 
dispatch the sessions end much sooner, the confer- 
ence generally adjourning on Monday evening. One 
whole session was usually spent calling the roll for 
the reports of statistics. This was the practice until 
1857, when the present mode of reporting quietly 
to committees was adopted. 

The third session was held in 1842, in the Bap- 
tist church, in Chicago. This church was a long, 
low building, situated in the rear of the Board of 
Trade building, on the corner of LaSalle and Wash- 
ington Streets. Bishop Roberts, on his last episco- 
pal round, presided. J. T. Mitchell was secretary ; 
J. R. Goodrich, assistant. J. T. Mitchell occupied 
the secretary's desk until elected assistant book 
agent in 1844. E. R. Ames (now bishop), as mis- 
sionary secretary, was present, enlivening the con- 


ference by his preaching. Thirty-four "chapels" 
and sixteen parsonages were reported. This first 
Chicago conference adjourned on Thursday aft- 

The preachers gathered at Dubuque in 1843 for 
their fourth conference, it being the first ever held 
in Iowa. E. R. Ames being present again, by re- 
quest opened the session, conducting the business 
until the conference was properly organized by the 
election of B. Weed as president, thus presiding in 
the conference nine years before he, as bishop, pre- 
sided at St. Charles. J. E,. Goodrich was continued 
as assistant secretary. Bishop J. O. Andrew arrived 
on a steamboat Sunday morning, in time to preach, 
and took the chair on Monday morning. He must 
not be blamed for tardiness; for whoever has tried 
a Mississippi steamboat will know how to make 
allowances. We tried them once ! In 1859 we 
went to Fulton by daylight, Tuesday morning, 
bound up the river for the Galena Conference. We 
went to the warehouse, took walks, slept on boxes, 
ate at the hotel, had the vexations, endured much, 
until Wednesday at two P. M., when a boat arrived, 
and we took passage, and reached Dubuque in the 
night. Before daylight we took cars for Galena, 
where we arrived on Thursday morning, in time 
for conference, and to learn that we had been elected 
the day before statistical secretary, and that all this 
time our work was being neglected. We did well, 
however; for B. Close and A. Cross, our compan- 
ions, who stayed by the steamboat, did not reach 
Galena until Thursday afternoon. We wanted a 


Steamboat ride, but have never cared to try the 
river again when we had business and the prompt 
cars have been at hand. 

Bishop Andrew was the only member of the 
Methodist Episcopal Church, South, that ever pre- 
sided at our conference. B. T. Kavanaugh, the first 
secretary, and for some time presiding elder, was a 
brother of H. H. Kavanaugh, who was elected 
bishop of the Church South in 1854. At this con- 
ference delegates were elected to the General Con- 
ference of 1844. They were Bartholomew Weed, 
John Sinclair, H. W. Eeed, and J. T. Mitchell. 
For some reason Mr. Mitchell was not elected till 
the second ballot, and then only by a small majority. 
The General Conference put a different estimate 
upon him, and by electing him book agent took 
him away from the Rock River Conference. This 
B. Weed, one of the leading members of the con- 
ference and first on the list of delegates, was from 
the Philadelphia Conference in 1837, and had been 
admitted into the conference in 1817. He traveled 
most of the time from 1817 to 1837 in New Jersey, 
but was four years on Staten Island and six in the 
city of Philadelphia. He was appointed to the Ga- 
lena District in 1837, in which position he contin- 
ued until 1843, when he'was appointed to the Iowa 
District, and never after held appointments in the 
bounds of the Rock River Conference. He con- 
tinued to act as presiding elder in Iowa until 1845, 
when he transferred to the New Jersey Conference, 
where, without intermission, he continued to fill 
middle-class appointments — the last four years in 


Newark City — until 1864, when he was obliged to 
give over and retire to the superannuated list. He 
died a few years ago. He traveled forty-seven years 
in all, eight of which he was presiding elder in the 

The fifth conference was held at Milwaukee in 
1844. Bishop Morris presided; J. R. Goodrich 
was secretary. Quite a change has now come over 
the conference. The General Conference of May, 
1844, had constituted the Iowa Conference, thereby 
causing some of the most prominent members to 
cease to attond the sessions. To Iowa went B. 
Weed, H. W. Reed, William Simpson, David Wor- 
thington, Jesse L. Bennett, 1. 1. Stewart, and others. 
The Iowa members had labored most of their time 
in Iowa, so that the Iowa Conference took very few 
who had ever had appointments in the bounds of 
the Rock River Conference. At the Mt. Morris 
Conference in 1840 there were fifteen appointments 
in Iowa ; at the time of the division, and at the 
first session of the Iowa Conference in 1844, there 
were twenty-nine appointments. There was an- 
other change made of more consequence to the 
Rock River Conference. Since Iowa had set up 
for itself, it was thought a better arrangement of 
the Illinois work could' be made by an enlargement 
of the Rock River Conference. Accordingly that 
territory now included in the Central Illinois Con- 
ference was taken from the Illinois Conference and 
attached to Rock River. By this arrangement the 
conference acquired a company of worthy preachers. 
The country was older, and the ministers were men 


of ability. Besides, they were men of the South- 
ern type, and more eloquent than the astute Yankee. 
Some of Rock River's most eloquent men came in 
with this reinforcement, and many afterwards came 
into the conference, raised upon Central Illinois 
territory, 'that have made their mark among us. 
The reinforcements brought in Richard Haney, 
A. E. Phelps, Francis Smith, N. P. Heath, Isaac 
Pool, S. P. Burr, "Warner Oliver, B. H. Cartwright, 
Zadoc Hall, and John P. Devore. 

The conference of 1845 met at Peoria, August 
•20th, and opened with H. Crews as chairman. 
Bishop Morris arrived Thursday, during the after- 
noon session, and took the chair. P. Judson was 
elected secretary. The members could not have 
made a wiser choice. He at once became an efficient 
secretary, and, without the thought of a change on 
the part of the conference, he held the office until 
1859, serving his last time at Waukegan in 1858, 
when he became so much engaged in secular em- 
ploy he could not well attend to secretarial duties. 
W. H. Sampson was assistant secretary in 1845, 
F. T. Mitchell in 1846, and in 1847 S. F. Denning, 
on P. Judson's nomination, was chosen to that po- 
sition, in which, as recorder of the minutes, he has 
served, with the exception of one year, ever since. 
C. B. Tippett, assistant book agent at New York, 
was present at Peoria, and preached in a manner to 
send the preachers home all alive to the work. He 
took as his text, " I know that my Redeemer liveth," 
and perhaps never at any session has there been 

such a sermon preached. 



In 1846 the conference met at Galena, with 
L. L. Hamline as presiding bishop; and in 1847 it 
met at Chicago for the second time, Bishop Waugh 
presiding. This and the next session were made 
ever memorable by the notorious Mitchell trials, 
of which more hereafter. 

In 1848 the conference met at Canton, in Fulton 
County, Bishop Morris presiding. Here again the 
body felt the effects of disintegration. In 1840 
there were but sixteen appointments north of the 
Illinois line. Wisconsin was newer country than 
Illinois, and did not arrive to the dignity of a 
State until 1848. But during these years the peo- 
ple had flocked in, and the Methodist preachers 
had planted the standard of the cross in the new 
settlements, so that, at the first session of the Wis- 
consin Conference after its organization at the Gen- 
eral Conference of May, 1848, there were fifty -seven 
appointments, to which sixty-three preachers were 
sent. By this new organization the Rock River 
Conference was confined, for the first time, to the 
limits of the State of Illinois, the conference em- 
bracing the northern third part of the State. Many 
men who had enlivened the sessions of the Rock 
River Conference appeared no more on the floor. 
Among them were many active and efficient men. 
There were W. H. Sampson, E. Springer, Isaac M. 
Leihy, Isaac Searles, David Brooks, Washington 
Wilcox, S. R. Thorp, Warner Oliver, W. G. Miller, 
H. W. Frink, Chauncy Hobart, Wesley Latin, and 
others, who were much missed from the cheerful- 
hearted ranks. 


In 1849 we met at Rockford. The old church 
was newly finished and stood in a grove on the 
commons. Bishop Janes made here his first ap- 
pearance West. At Mt. Morris, the week previous, 
the bishop had preached twice, and laid the corner- 
stone of a church. At the conference he gave one 
of those addresses to the class of deacons for which 
he was always noted, and in which no other ex- 
celled him. The four addresses he delivered at our 
sessions excelled every thing we have ever heard 
from human lips. He also spoke on Friday even- 
ing at the missionary meeting, delivering one of his 
most eloquent addresses. On Sunday there was the 
largest (or most crowded) congregation we have 
ever had at a conference. The windows were 
thrown open, and wagons two rods deep were filled 
with eager, outside listeners. There was the same 
crowd at the preaching at the Baptist church in the 
afternoon, where John H. Power preached. The 
choir was in those days a vexed and vexing ques- 
tion. We were in a transition state between the 
old-fashioned congregational singing and our pres- 
ent modes. Often strange preachers took occasion 
to give the choir a blessing. On this afternoon 
Dr. Power — an Ohioan, with Ohio ideas — was 
speaking of heaven. " And/' said he, " when we 
get there we shall all join in heavenly melodies, 
and not have a few people away up yonder to sing 
for us!" pointing, as he uttered the remark, with 
his long arm, to the artistic choir which sung in 
the gallery. 

We have now passed in review the work of the 


itinerant bands from 1840 to 1845. The days of 
planting, for the most part, are over, and we enter 
upon the days of enlargement and culture. Now 
the work is to be that of edifying the Church and 
establishing new forms. The new and crude ma- 
terials for a noble Church are to take form, and 
vexed questions are to be settled. But all this time 
the work of harvest has been going on, and the 
Church has arisen to new influence and gained new 
victories. We are about to enter upon another 
period of five years — a period, however, somewhat 
barren in incident ; for, the country being at a 
stand-still, the circuits and doings of the conference 
exhibit little change. It was not until after 1855 
that the work began to be broken up into new 
charges. In 1845 there were in the bounds of the 
present Rock River Conference 7,400 members, 30 
charges, and 39 preachers. At the conference of 
that year, held at Peoria, the following appoint- 
ments were made in our limits: 

Chicago District: James Mitchell, P. E. — 
Clark Street, William M. D. Ryan ; Canal Street, 
Sias Bolles; City Mission, S. F. Denning; Elk 
Grove, H. Whitehead, James Leckenby; Lake, S. 
Pillsbury ; Dundee, L. R. Ellis ; Elgin, G. L. S. 
Stuff; St. Charles, S. Stebbins, L. A. Chapin ; Du- 
page, N. Jewett; Juliet, O. A. Walker, R. E. 
Thomas; Wilmington, William Gaddis; Yellow- 
head Grove (Momence), J. M. Hinman; Crystal 
Lake, H. Minard ; McHenry, Wm. Vallette. . . . 

Ottawa District: Luke Hitchcock, P. E. — 
Ottawa, Walter Hare ; Peru Mission, J. W. Agard ; 


Princeton, L. S. Walker ; Portland, S. K. Lemon ; 
Dixon, S. P. Keyes; Daysville, David Brooks; 
Belvidere, R. A. Blanchard ; Sycamore, S. R. Beggs, 
Wesley Latin ; Little Rock, O. W. Munger, W. B. 
Atkinson ; Milford, Levi Jenks, J. W. Burton. 

Mt. Morris District : H. Crews, P. E. — Ga- 
lena, F. A. Savage ; Elizabeth, Isaac M. Leihy ; 
Mt. Carroll Mission, W. B. Cooley ; Freeport, L. 
Whipple ; Rockford, C. D. Cahoon ; Sugar River, 
L. F. Molthrop ; Roscoe, Z. Hall ; Mt. Morris, M. 
Bourne ; Buffalo Grove, A. M. Early ; Union Grove, 
Isaac Searles. . . . 

Philo Judson and J. C. Parks, Agents of Rock 
River Seminary; J. T. Mitchell, Assistant Book 
Agent, Cincinnati. 

In Milwaukee District : Big Foot, John Wilson, 
C. G. Adams. 




WE left William M. D. Ryan and Warner Oliver 
in 1845, having glorious times on the Chi- 
cago Circuit. At this time the churches of the city 
were meagre affairs. The St. James Episcopal so- 
ciety were worshiping on the North Side, in a dingy 
brick building, built in 1836. The Catholics had 
the only really good church in town. The Unita- 
rians had a passable frame, the same that was burned 
down in front of the Methodist church block in 
1864. The First and Second Presbyterian churches 
were low frame buildings, and the Baptists were 
worshiping in a long, low, convent-like house, in 
the rear of their brick church, which was built in 
1846 and taken down in 1864. The Clark Street 
Methodist church was a nondescript. It had first 
been twenty-six by thirty feet, and being twice 
doubled in size, it was a shaky affair, in whose ceil- 
ing and roof the joints were plainly visible. It was 
about forty-six by sixty-four feet, with twelve or 
fourteen feet walls. The outside, if ever painted, 
had lost all its whiteness, and presented a time- 
worn appearance. It stood in the rear of the pres- 
ent block, fronting on Clark Street. The seats were 
high, with doors, or, as a preacher's child said of 


another such church, " had gates." The pulpit was 
literally a " preach-pen." The preacher, entering, 
closed the door, and shut himself in. "Whether this 
arrangement was made to save the preacher from 
assaults we never learned. The lamps were lard- 
oil burners, the globes of plain ground glass, twelve 
inches in diameter, set on a ring, which held the 
oil, leaving the oil burning in the center. With 
the oil of the day, generally lard, the church within, 
of an evening, resembled a cave dimly lighted with 
glimmering lanterns, the posts which held up the 
ceiling answering to dingy stalactites. Well do we 
remember the old sexton going around with his 
bottle of turpentine, lighting these hard-to-be-lighted 
oil lamps. Could the people of 1845 awake to our 
modern gas and petroleum they would be fright- 
ened by the brilliancy. But, dingy and uncouth as 
those old walls were, they are sacred to the memory 
of many a soul born there into the kingdom of 
God. We can never forget when we bowed at the 
altar of the old church for the first time around the 
sacramental board, and when again we bowed for 
baptism, when Hooper Crews poured the conse- 
crating element on our youthful head. Near the 
old church stood an office used as a class-room. 
Besides this there was no convenience for class- 
meetings. Only one class met in the church ; that 
was D. M. Bradley's class, which met at four 
o'clock. All other classes met either in the afore- 
mentioned office or in private houses. 

Such was the condition of Chicago in regard to 
churches in the Spring of 1845, there being in all 


thirteen churches in the city. There were Canal 
Street on the West Side, St. James Episcopal and 
the Bethel on the North Side, and on the South 
Side one Methodist, two Baptist, and two Presby- 
terian churches, one Episcopalian, a Catholic, a 
Universalist, a Unitarian, and a Dutch Methodist, 
or Albright Church. 

William M. D. Ryan had come from Ohio, where 
they had arrived at an age of better churches. He 
could not rest until he made an effort to build a 
better church in Chicago. Few men possessed the 
power to inspire the Church with such an under- 
taking. The times were hard, and the members 
were poor. Many of them were mechanics earning 
a dollar and a quarter a day. It was proposed to 
make the seats free, provided six thousand dollars 
could be raised before the completion, but four 
thousand dollars was all that could be obtained. 
The enterprise was near being abandoned, when it 
was the only saving measure to sell the pews. The 
old and venerable church, a portion of which was 
the first church of any kind in the city, was re- 
moved in the Spring of 1845 to the corner of Dear- 
born and Madison Streets, and there the society 
continued to worship during the Summer. During 
one Sabbath, while the church was on wheels, the 
society had no gathering place, and went wandering 
like lost sheep over the city. Brother Ryan gath- 
ered them for preaching in the Trinity Episcopal 
Church in the afternoon. In the mean time the 
work of building commenced. The house was 
ninety-eight by sixty-five feet, fronting on Wash- 


ington Street. About the 1st of July a crowd gath- 
ered to witness the ceremonies of laying the corner- 
stone. Addresses were delivered by J. R. Goodrich 
and Wm. M. D. Ryan. Mr. Ryan was in his best 
vein, swelling with thoughts that ere long our 
preachers should greet each other from the Atlantic 
to the Pacific shores. All Summer long by degrees 
the walls went up, the members gathering within 
the old church the while for parting blessings. 

During the Fall an event occurred, common now, 
uncommon then. C. B. Tippett, book agent at 
New York, passed by on his way to the Peoria Con- 
ference, and remained over Sabbath. He preached 
three times, giving the most thrilling sermons ever 
heard up to that time in Chicago. Mr. Ryan was 
already away at conference, leaving the pulpit to be 
supplied. In the morning an elderly man, with 
old-fashioned Methodist preacher coat, entered the 
pulpit. The whisper went round that it was some 
local preacher picked up for the day. As it was. 
conference Sunday we were fully satisfied. The 
first hymn was read in rather a dull way, and we 
were looking for a sleepy time. The preacher be- 
gan to pray in a cool manner, but ere long he 
awaked the congregation. He began his sermon, 
and all eyes were speaking to friends across the 
house. The effect was electrical. Never had such 
a sermon been delivered within the old walls. 
Throughout that day crowds thronged the church. 
The first Sunday after conference the first quarterly- 
meeting was to come off". Friday night was prayer- 
meeting evening, but as yet there was no elder. 



Brother Ryan at the close of meeting informed the 
people of the disappointment, and was making 
apologies when all at once he thrilled us by saying 
that he had laid hold of C. B. Tippett, who was 
passing through, and he was to attend the coming 
meeting. Saturday evening Mr. Tippett preached 
and called mourners. There was no special revival 
interest in the Church, and but one person went 
forward, and that was only a boy of seventeen. Fresh 
from his day's work, with curly head and clingy coat, 
this apprentice bowed alone at the altar. It was 
his first religious move. A small affair, indeed, 
was that Saturday evening meeting. But that boy, 
A. B. Scranton, who was probably the last mourner 
that ever went to that old altar, was for forty 
vears one of the faithful Methodists of Chicago, 
having been the chief agent in building Grace 
Church, one of the finest Methodist churches in 
the city. That one sermon, it may be, was the little 
pebble thrown into the ocean to set in motion cir- 
cling waves that may span centuries. That youth 
was one of the three appointed in 1865 as the Chi- 
cago Centenary Committee. The old church after 
the new was dedicated was first used as a cabinet 
shop. In 1852 it was sawn asunder, and the two 
pieces faced about, fronting Dearborn Street, and 
made into double dwellings. In the Summer of 
1864 these were moved away to give place to a 
large block. 

In November the elegant and spacious new Clark 
Street Church was completed. Fifteen hundred 
people gathered one pleasant Thursday evening to 


join in its dedication. The sermon was preached 
by the presiding elder, James Mitchell ; text, " How 
shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?" 
A large subscription was raised after the sermon. 
Orrington Lunt had that very day in the sale of 
wheat made sixteen hundred dollars, and as a thank 
offering for this, his first success of any account in 
business life, he contributed fifty dollars in addition 
to a large subscription before paid. This was now 
the first really fine church in the city, and had it 
not been the first it is probable it could never have 
been built. The basement was yet unfinished, but 
so cheerful did the Church feel, Brother Ryan took 
them while in tune, invited the people to an open 
door love-feast, where in one evening sufficient was 
raised to finish the basement, with four class rooms. 
The first Sabbath after these last were finished there 
were held a series of class-meetings such as Chicago 
had never before witnessed, and the noisiest prayer- 
meetings we were ever in, except the Nazarite meet- 
ings, were held for a time in those rooms. The 
building cost in those days of very low prices twelve 
thousand dollars. 

The old Clark Street society now entered upon 
her regular work with all the conveniences needful. 
The Sunday-school, with J. A. Hoisington as super- 
intendent, met in the lecture-room, and fourteen 
classes in the class-rooms; four in the morning at 
nine o'clock, four at noon, four at four o'clock, and 
two on Wednesday evening. Those class-meetings 
were most glorious institutions. The leaders were 
Isaiah Shaw, John B. Mitchell, G. C. Cook, — . 


Jones, Grant Goodrich, A. Biglow, H. W. Clark, 
D. M. Bradley, Christopher Metz, and George F. 
Foster. Among the leading members of the Church 
who entered the new house of worship were Will- 
iam Wheeler, who came in 1838, and who was a 
prominent hardware merchant; Christopher Metz, 
a workman in Mr. Wheeler's tin shop ; George F. 
Foster, who came in 1837, and set up as a sail 
maker. He was poor, indeed, and well remembers 
a schooner that came in with' tattered sail to give 
himself and George A. Robb work. Orrington 
Lunt arrived in 1842, and began a little dickering 
trade in feathers, cranberries, etc. He commenced 
buying wheat in 1844, and at once began to prosper 
in business. Few will forget who heard it his' sing- 
ing, "When for eternal worlds we steer," and "The 
morning light is breaking" in 1843. A. Biglow 
arrived in 1844, and entered the mercantile business. 
J. K. Bottsford was converted at the Borein revival 
in 1839, and was a hardware merchant in 1845. 
H. W. Clark, a lawyer, came from Brooklyn in 1845. 
Grant Goodrich came in 1834, and as a lawyer and 
judge has ever held a prominent position. He is, 
if we mistake not, the oldest permanent member of 
the Methodist Episcopal Church in Chicago. J. W. 
Waughop was originally from Norwalk, Virginia, 
but came from Washington, Illinois, to Chicago in 
1844. He was a tailor when he came, and in 1845 
was a young law student. Isaiah Shaw was a loud, 
zealous brother from Joliet. G. C. Cook came from 
the State of New York in 1844, and with a brother 
was for a time engaged in the American Temper- 


ance House. In 1845 he went into the grocery 
business on the corner of Lake and State Streets 
with Mr. Satterlee, and the firm of Satterlee & 
Cook was long known. D. M. Bradley came in 
1837. He was a printer, and entering the office of 
the Chicago Democrat, edited by John Wentworth, 
he was the main manager of that office for twenty 
years. He at once on coming to Chicago became 
an efficient class-leader, and continued to perform 
the duties of the office until his death in 1857, 
keeping, if we mistake not, the same class the whole 
-time. The present writer, with Mrs. Garrett, was 
a member of that class for several years. He was 
a native of Concord, New Hampshire, was raised 
by a pious mother, and experienced religion under 
the labors of G. Storrs at the age of eighteen. 
Among his last utterances were: "This is all my 
hope and all my plea, for me the Savior died." " It 
is all through Christ." He died September 8, 1857, 
and his funeral discourse was preached at the Clark 
Street Church by Hooper Crews ; text, James iv, 14 : 
"For what is your life?" After his conversion he 
sought an education to prepare himself for the min- 
istry, but not having good health he never entered 
the pulpit. His quiet, yet pathetic voice, uttering 
melodious strains in speech and song in the love- 
feasts, is yet in its tenderness vibrating upon our 
ears. Robinson Tripp came to Chicago in 1834, 
and was one of the most prompt and efficient Sun- 
day-school teachers. J. A. Hoisington came in 
1843 from Green Street Church, New York .City, 
where he had been superintendent of the Sunday- 


school. He became superintendent in 1845 in Chi- 
cago. He was a book-binder and book-seller. Mrs. 
Eliza Garrett will be mentioned more fully here- 
after. Robert Shepard was a true, quiet brother, 
who did the carpenter work on the new church. 
His son Robert is a member of the Rock River 
Conference. We have mentioned many of the main 
members, but besides these there was a host of 
faithful men, such as the Thomsons, the Turners, 
Dr. D. S. Smith, Martin Kimball, and others too 
numerous to mention. 

During the Winter of 1846 there was quite a 
revival, but no general move. Some quite promi- 
nent men were converted. The first year in the 
new church closed with three hundred and sixteen 
members, and Chauncey Hobart, a transfer from the 
Illinois Conference, came on as the preacher in 1846. 
This man was really an able preacher, and since 
then, in connection with the work in Wisconsin and 
Minnesota, has shown himself a worthy Methodist 
preacher. But from several causes matters went 
rather ill at Clark Street during his year. First, 
it was no common man that could follow William 
M. D. Ryan ; and second, Mr. Hobart was so mixed 
up with the Mitchell difficulty he was unable to 
accomplish much. As a general rule, it is best to 
pass over scenes of unfortunate occurrence, because 
of the tendency to open up old wounds, but being 
well acquainted with every phase of the Mitchell 
difficulty we consider it too late to do injury by 
reference to it. It will not injure any one connected 
with the past; it will do good for the future. 


We gain experience by the follies and failures of 
the past. 

In 1845 James Mitchell, a brother of the 
noble John T. Mitchell, succeeded that kindest of 
men, J. R. Goodrich, as presiding elder on the Chi- 
cago District. He had at an early day been an 
active itinerant in Southern Illinois, and on marry- 
ing had located and settled in business at Plattville, 
Wisconsin. There he failed and took the benefit 
of the "Bankrupt Act" in a manner that injured 
his reputation. He was readmitted to the confer- 
ence in 1842 and stationed at Racine. In 1843 he 
was appointed to Milwaukee, and in 1844 to Mil- 
waukee District. At the conference of 1843 charges 
were preferred against him, but as nothing could 
be made out his character passed. After a study of 
his character for years we conclude that he meant 
to be honest, and while on the Chicago District was 
really seeking to be a humble Christian, but there 
seemed to be a moral defect somewhere, causing him 
to prevaricate and be what men with a keen sense 
of honor call tricky. Holiness was a special theme 
with him, but not enjoying this fullness he was left 
to an imperious, ambitious spirit. When he went to 
Chicago the Western Citizen, a Garrisonian abolition 
paper, was published in the city. The Methodist 
Church had unfortunately hanging upon her South- 
ern skirts the foul blot of slavery. The Citizen had 
always taken special pains to irritate the sore places 
on the Methodist body until Methodists considered 
the paper an enemy. The Citizen at once began to 
bring charges against the Methodist elder. In the 


pulpit the elder sought refuge in the affections of 
the Church against what he called, and we thought, 
persecution. In this way the Methodists in gen- 
eral were made to rally around him. We did not 
then know the facts. In going to Wisconsin Mr. 
Mitchell took with him two negro girls, belonging, 
as was said, to his wife. When they became unsafe 
there he sent them to St. Louis, and was at the 
time of which we speak receiving in remittances the 
amount of their wages. The first year rolled along 
quite smoothly. The elder was an able, winning 
man, and his friends were many. The second year 
began. Mr. Ryan was gone, and a man of Elder 
Mitchell's views was in the pulpit. James Mitchell 
had known Methodism only as it existed in the 
South. At Clark Street they were governed by 
Eastern views. The elder pleaded for free seats, con- 
gregational singing, and things akin, and the Clark 
Street choir was going beyond all measure into 
violins. Mr. Mitchell set about the work of " Meth- 
odizing" the Church. Such difficulties frequently 
happen. A man from New England thinks the 
Yankee way is the only true type ; the Southerner 
concludes Methodism as he has seen it is the only 
true way. Besides, at this time, the Church all 
through the country was in a transition state in its 
modes of singing and manner of seating a congre- 
gation. Chauncey Hobart worked up to the elder's 
views. An effort was made to get rid of the choir, 
but the effort failed in a reaction that brought a gay 
leader and two or three violins into the gallery. 
For once in the history of Methodism the preacher 


used his power of removing leaders imprudently. 
All tke leaders opposed to the new measures were 
removed, and those that were not removed resigned, 
and men agreeing with the elder were appointed. 
We need not enlarge. Any reader of experience 
can see what a state of things this mode of pro- 
cedure would bring on. Meantime the elder touched 
his notes to the key of " old-fashioned Methodism," 
and this took with those who had first, when poor, 
known Methodism in its poverty, forgetting that 
there is no more reason for continuing to worship 
in a barn than to live in a cabin or to travel by 
lumber- wagon. 

Let us quote the journal of a " Mitchellite " of 
that day : " James Mitchell is as firm as a rock on 
all the old landmarks of Methodism — free seats, free 
grace, and free Gospel." That is a key to the whole 
difficulty. _. Towards the close of the conference year 
in 1847 the Clark Street people thought that, to 
preserve harmony, it were better to have a change 
of elders. This change they intended to effect in 
a quiet way. But Mr. Mitchell, learning this, on 
his last round on his district, procured the passage 
of resolutions requesting his return. They were all 
a copy of the following : 

"Resolved, That we, as members of the Quar- 
terly-meeting Conference of Crystal Lake Circuit, 
are well satisfied with the ability and usefulness of 
our beloved presiding elder, the Rev. James Mitch- 
ell, and would be much pleased with his continu- 
ance on the district." 

As a specimen of the elder's prevarication, let 


us say that at the conference of 1847 he was dis- 
tinctly asked if he had had any thing to do with get- 
ting up these resolutions. He answered that they 
were gotten up by his friends without his knowledge, 
while several members of the different quarterly 
conferences told the bishop that they were passed 
at the request of the elder. The conference of 1847 
was held at Chicago. A representation of the state 
of things at Clark Street was made to the bishop 
by nearly all the members of the Clark Street 
official board. Mr. Mitchell then took such action 
as forced these officials into open antagonism. In- 
stead of leaving the matter in the hands of the 
bishop and elders, as was most wise, the official 
members were compelled to prefer charges. The 
charges were gotten up in a hurry, and were friv- 
olous in the extreme. Elder Mitchell was guilty 
of falsehood by saying a certain person was " dicta- 
torial," and by saying that the Clark Street officials 
were not Methodists but Congregationalists. The 
trial brought out all the ill-will and irritations of 
the whole Church's history. But any one will know 
that such charges could amount to but little, and 
the matter was for the time laid over. Mr. Mitch- 
ell was placed in a superannuated relation, 'and a 
committee appointed to try his case. The commit- 
tee met in the Spring of 1848, and suspended him 
until conference. At the conference a leading mem- 
ber of Clark Street Church appeared, and pros- 
ecuted the case before the conference, and a leading 
member of Indiana Street Church visited the seat 
of conference at Canton to work as a lobby mem- 


ber in Mr. Mitchell's favor, getting up indignation 
meetings among the citizens to intimidate the con- 
ference. A new set of charges had been drawn up. 
They referred entirely to the abduction of the slave 
girls. The conference sustained all the specifica- 
tions, but cleared him on the charges, and allowed 
him to retire untouched; and in the Minutes we 
have this anomalous record : " J. Mitchell, trans- 
ferred " — but to what place readers are left to guess. 
He at once " transferred " himself to St. Louis, and 
being admitted to the Church South, was stationed 
at Booneville. In a year or two he was suspended 
from the Church South for falsehood ; but the de- 
cision, on account of an informality of trial, was 
reversed by the General Conference on his appeal 
to that body. In 1860 he was expelled from the 
Church for selling slaves that were mortgaged, 
without apprising the purchaser of the fact; and 
the last we knew of him he was preaching among 
the Cumberland Presbyterians. 

The Rock River Conference has never had a 
case so difficult to deal with. The trial consumed 
more time than any other case ever before that 
body. The meagre records of it cover fifty-eight 
ledger pages of the conference journal. He will 
appear occasionally in these pages where the friends 
of the elder raised difficulties; for be it known that 
the course pursued by him in the commencement 
of the difficulties won him friends all over the dis- 
trict, and in Chicago many members passed through 
sorrow and secession ere matters returned to a set- 
tled condition. It was one of those quarrels about 


a man where the causes of irritation lie in the man 
himself, and the parties are sincere, doing what 
they think is for the glory of God. The Clark 
Street members looked to what they considered the 
interests of Zion ; the others sympathized with one 
whom they considered a holy man under persecu- 
tion. Many of our worst Church difficulties are 
brought on by sincere but mistaken men, who be- 
come a little willful withal. The very men who 
went in for James Mitchell's old-fashioned Meth- 
odism have nearly all adopted the very measures 
Mr. Mitchell opposed. The Methodist Church has 
fewer of these difficulties than any other ; for the 
itinerant system removes irritating objects, while 
other Churches almost always have a difficulty when 
they attempt to remove ministers. The chief evils 
of the Mitchell difficulty were felt at Indiana and 
Canal Street Churches. In places on the district 
there were disturbances; but all the worst features 
of the sad affair were confined to Chicago. Many a 
man learned lessons in those days that have proved 

In 1846 there was still a heavy debt on the Clark 
Street Church. They had a fair in December, re- 
sulting in three hundred and seventy-five dollars, 
and in the Winter of 1847 a tax was levied of one 
dollar on all female members, and of three dollars 
on the male members, and a tax of one per cent on 
property. Soon after Chauncey Hobart arrived the 
congregation was blessed with one of those treats, 
so seldom then, so common now, that thrill the 
hearts of people. One Sunday morning in Septem- 


ber, 1846, Mr. Hobart preached, and a young man, 
almost blind, arose to close. He could not read, 
but recited, " O for a thousand tongues to sing !" 
" It seemed like an electric shock," says one who 
heard it. " The eyes of the whole congregation 
sparkled. The reciting of that old hymn was heav- 
enly! As he concluded he said: 'A plain old 
hymn, brethren ; let us endeavor to sing it with the 
spirit and the understanding.' This from a mere 
boy seemed almost too much. He prayed with the 
most melodious voice I have ever heard. Brother 
Hobart gave notice that the young man would 
preach in the afternoon. The news spread like 
wild-fire, and long before the time appointed crowds 
flocked to the house. The church was completely 
crowded. He took for his text, * Let us therefore 
come boldly/ etc. In the little experience I have 
had, this beat all that my imagination had ever 
pictured. You could have heard a pin fall during 
the entire sermon. Every one was enraptured with 
the little young blind man." This was the first 
appearance of William H. Milburn, who was then 
chaplain to Congress, before a Chicago audience. 

At the conference of 1847 Philo Judson was ap- 
pointed to Chicago. His prudence and upright firm- 
ness did much to preserve the integrity of the Church. 
At the end of the year he was removed to take charge 
of Mt. Morris District. He was followed by Rich- 
ard Haney, who remained two years. During the 
last year there was a gracious revival, which aroused 
the Church and brought in several faithful mem- 
bers. The year closed with three hundred and 


seventy-five members, and at the conference of 
1850 S. P. Keyes was sent to the charge. He was 
then in his prime, and one of the most popular 
preachers of the conference. Brother Keyes re- 
mained two years. " During the Winter of 1852," 
says Judge Goodrich, " a most interesting and 
blessed revival occurred. Since the great revival 
of 1839 we have had none which, in my estimation, 
gives so fair promise of permanent good. Its sub- 
jects are mostly young men and women, and a 
majority children of pious parents, who have been 
trained in the Sabbath-schools and nurtured on the 
lap of the Church." 

S. P. Keyes was followed in 1852 by John 
Clark, who continued in the charge until his death 
in 1854, when he was succeeded by Hooper Crews. 
In 1853, a traveler, T. C. Gardner, gives this de- 
scription of the Church: "Clark Street Church is 
one of the largest Churches in this great section of 
the republic, having one of the finest congregations 
that any of you Down-Easters ever preached to. 
Intelligent and most respectfully attentive, and 
evincing by the revealings of the mind through 
the eye and features a comprehension of your the- 
ology, and such an appreciation of your logic and 
all the good qualities you can put into your dis- 
course, as to make you feel that, give you such an 
audience, and you would make pulpit efforts worth/ 
a Christian minister. You feel also that you are 
really in a Methodist congregation ; for a well-timed 
and a well-toned amen offends not the refinement of 


In 1858 the old and sacred temple was torn 
down to make way for the new block. It had stood 
nearly twelve years. In it hundreds of souls had 
been converted, and had consecrated themselves to 
God. A new generation of Methodists had grown 
up around its altars, and it had just begun to put 
on all the sacredness of home. The members of 
the Rock River Conference had twice gathered 
within its walls for their sessions, once in 1847, and 
again in 1853, and from its pulpit had been preached 
many glorious sermons. But business was crowding 
southward, and the clatter of hoofs and wheels upon 
the streets so disturbed all worship, it was thought 
better to change. The " Methodist Church Block " 
was erected in 1858, and until the fire of 1871 the 
old society worshiped within its walls. 

Many of the members having moved to the 
southern outskirts, a colony of Clark Street built 
in 1864 Trinity Church, some two miles south of 
Lake Street, near the lake shore, for their accommo- 
dation, and there finally gathered many of Clark 
Street's old and faithful members. 

The Clark Street society has sent out several 
ministers; we can not tell exactly how many. There 
are David Worthington, of the Iowa Conference; 
Henry Moys, of the Kansas Conference ; and James 
McClane, A. D. Field, and William Kegan, of the 
Rock River Conference. James McClane, who 
was the son of a Protestant overseer of an estate, 
had been religious in Ireland. He came to Amer- 
ica in 1842, stopped awhile in Canada, and arrived 
in Chicago in the Fall, in time to be one of the 


first converts in N. P. Cunningham's meeting, being 
converted as early as November, 1842. In the 
Spring of 1843 he went to Mt. Morris, where, part 
of the time at school, part of the time working, he 
remained until the Spring of 1847, when he was 
sent to Little Rock Circuit as a supply by Milton 
Bourne, the presiding elder. In the Fall he was 
admitted to the conference, of which ever since he 
has been a member. 

A. D. Field came with his father's family when 
seven years of age to Chicago in June, 1835. Here 
he remained most of the time until 1846. Being 
for a time near Elgin, on Fox River, he made a 
profession of religion in November, 1842, and going 
a week after to Chicago he became connected with 
the Clark Street Church and Sunday-school, being 
a member of D. M. Bradley's class. He left for 
Mt. Morris in 1846, joined conference in 1848, and 
remaineth unto this day. 




CANAL Street Church, as we have seen, received 
Sias Bolles in 1845. He remained until the 
conference of 1847. Nothing of any special note 
■occurred, only that they were years of great 
religious peace and prosperity to the Church. In 
1846 there were one hundred and ninety-two mem- 
bers. In 1847 Harvey S. Brunson was sent to the 
charge. After a few months his health failed, and 
the Church employed James Mitchell, who had been 
left in a superannuated relation. The Indiana 
Street Church, organized in 1847, and Canal Street 
were both for Mr. Mitchell. There was a war upon 
the subject, which produced discussion in the pulpits, 
and on the streets, in the papers, and even among 
the jockey clubs. The two Churches named were 
enthusiastic defenders of their old elder. He sup- 
plied the Canal Street pulpit until April. The com- 
mittee appointed at the last conference met in that 
month for preliminary trial, and suspended Mr. 
Mitchell from the ministry until conference. This 
made it the duty of the presiding elder, John 
Chandler, to remove him, and to supply the place 
with other preachers. At the quarterly-meeting, 

where this change was undertaken, there was held 



a love-feast on Monday night. "I attended their 
love-feast, as it was called/' says a resident of the 
city, " but the name did not apply very well. Elder 
Chandler told the first one that spoke to cease 
speaking. The members urged him to go on, and 
he did go on. All the members that spoke ex- 
pressed a great deal of love for their beloved pastor 
who was to be taken from them. . . . Elder Chandler 
soon closed the meeting. But very few left, and we 
had a general class-meeting — so Elder Mitchell 
called it — and said all that wanted to speak might 
have the privilege if they had to stay until morn- 
ing ; and they did stay until all had an opportunity 
to free their minds." We have wondered if James 
Mitchell and those members did not have a little 
will of their own about that time. After the shelv- 
ing of Mr. Mitchell at the Canton Conference in 
1848 the members of the official boards of Indiana 
and Canal* Street Churches voted in a sort of con- 
vention not to receive as preacher or elder any 
person who had voted in any way condemning 
James Mitchell. J. F. Devore being sick, could 
not vote, and was sent to Indiana Street. R. A. 
Blanchard being absent, we believe, did not vote, 
and was appointed to Canal Street. Hooper Crews, 
the great favorite of the Chicago people in those 
days, had voted, but was sent to the Chicago Dis- 
trict to face a storm he had never met before. The 
official members of the two Churches passed and 
signed resolutions that they would not pay him a cent. 
Because Brother Blanchard would not join the 
crusade against Elder Crews he was told by one of 


the principal stewards that they would not sustain 
him, and that he would have to leave. Mr. Blanch- 
ard thought he should try and do his duty. The 
steward said he could not stay, for they would not 
support him. Mr. Blanchard said : " Not as bad as 
that, I hope." "Yes, as bad as that, and we'll 
starve you out," the steward replied. Mr. Blanchard 
said he would do his duty, if he had to beg from 
door to door. Brother Blanchard found things in 
a sad state, but by constant pastoral visiting soon 
won in some measure the good will of the really 
good but mistaken people. The quarterly-meeting 
at Canal Street was to be the first on the district. 
Brother Crews had learned the state of things, and 
was very despondent. The Canal Street Quarterly 
Conference, which intended to repudiate the pre- 
siding elder, was to meet Monday evening. In the 
morning of that day Mr. Orews, with demeanor as 
solemn as death, visited Mr. Blanchard. After a 
moment of silence the suspense was interrupted by 
the following conversation : 

"Brother Blanchard," said Brother Crews, with 
a deep drawn sigh, and in a very slow manner, 
"I can not be at your quarterly conference this 

"What does this mean? Where are you going?" 

" I am going to pack up our trunks," said Brother 
Crews, "and take my family and start to-morrow 
morning for my mother's in Kentucky, and that is 
the last of Hooper Crews." 

Brother Blanchard found he was determined, 
but received a promise that he would come over in 


the evening. The conference met with three loyal 
members present, and organized. Mr. Blanchard 
asked Brother Crews if he could be present in four 
weeks. Without waiting to think, he said that if 
wanted he could be present. The conference then 
adjourned to meet in a month. At the end of that 
time, by the kind exertions of the pastor, most of 
the members had come to better thoughts, and Mr. 
Crews and Blanchard passed through that year un- 
scathed. There was a good revival at Canal Street, 
and they supported their preacher well. The greater 
perplexities were at Indiana Street; and Canal 
Street Church passed on through the days of per- 
plexity to days of prosperity. A few members left 
the two Churches and organized a Protestant Meth- 
odist Church in the Fall of 1849. The first sermon 
preached in the city by any member of that denom- 
nation was preached by a Mr. Young, on a day of 
fasting and prayer for abatement of cholera in the 
school-house on the West Side in August, 1849. 
Thomas George, one of the best members of old 
Clark Street, and for some time of Canal Street, 
was one of the main agents in the organization of 
this new Church. 

K. A. Blanchard remained two years, in which 
time the Church arose from her sorrows to pleasant 
days. He found one hundred and ninety-three 
members, and did well in leaving as many as one 
hundred and thirty-seven. 

In 1852 the old church became too small, and 
being surrounded by the bustle of business, the so- 
ciety took measures to erect a new church on Jep- 


ferson Street. This was completed and dedicated 
February 5, 1854, by Clark T. Hinman, at which 
time two thousand three hundred dollars was taken 
on subscription to meet indebtedness. The society 
removed to the basement the 10th of February, 
1853, worshiping February 3d, the last time, in the 
old time-honored building, which they had entered 
just eight years before. We are sorry to know that 
the old chapel was turned by the purchasers into a 
ball alley. The upper room of the new church was 
not finished until a year after. The subject of Dr. 
Hinman's dedication sermon was, " The strength of 
the Church." J. E. Wilson, Sias Bolles, and Simp- 
son Guyer. participated in the exercises. J. E. 
Wilson, one of the most eloquent members of Rock 
River Conference, preached in the evening. 

By the appointment of some rather unfitting 
men, and other discouraging circumstances, the Jef- 
ferson Street Church, previous to 1861, passed 
through some very cloudy days. In 1858 the so- 
ciety was reduced to such extremities they were in- 
duced to mortgage the parsonage property to pay 
the pastor's salary. The memory of the preacher 
that allowed it will be like dark days. That year 
the elder persisted in returning this pastor, who was 
a burden to the Church, against the urgent wishes 
of prominent members. The result was the with- 
drawal of a few strong men. In 1861 the Church 
was in a spirit that made them ready to adopt any 
desperate measure which might either kill or cure, 
and they made a bold venture. Up to this time no 
young untried men had ever been appointed to 


place in the West. The success of Mr. Spurgeon 
at twenty-two in London had wafted the fashion 
of preferring young men across the waters to our 
shores, and in the East many young men had gone 
fresh from college to high pulpit position. In 1861 
there was a young student at the institute at Evans- 
ton, who was a relative of Simeon Farwell, one of 
the leading members of Jefferson Street Church. 
By their own motion, and through the persuasions 
of Dr. Dempster, the Church resolved to ask the 
appointment of this man, then twenty-four years 
of age. He had come up from a lowly life, and by 
those struggles that have made so many of our men 
out of barefoot boys, he had worked his way through 
college. He had a strong mind, but rather a daw- 
dling delivery. To tell the truth, there was yet a 
great deal of the sophomore about him. By the 
appointment of this young man there was nothing 
to lose, and there might be gain. 

At the session of the conference (1861) Charles 
Henry Fowler was admitted on trial, and sta- 
tioned at Jefferson Street. Bishop Fowler was born 
at Burford, in Canada, August 11, 1837. In 1841 
his father moved to Newark, Kendall County, 111., 
and engaged in farming. Here Charles gained his 
earliest school knowledge. In 1854 he attended the 
old Bock River Seminary, and in the Spring of 
1855 entered the Wesleyan Seminary at Lima, New 
York. He remained at Lima until 1859, when he 
graduated valedictorian from Genesee College. The 
same year he went to Chicago, and began the study 
of law. But, being converted on Christmas eve of 


1859, he changed the whole purposes of his life, and 
at once entered the Garrett Biblical Institute. In 
1861 he was stationed at Jefferson Street. This 
Church, Wabash Avenue, and Clark Street, were 
the only Churches he served as pastor. In 1872 he 
became president of the North-western University; 
in 1876 he was elected editor of the New York 
Christian Advocate; in 1880 he was chosen one of 
the missionary secretaries; and in 1884 was elected 
bishop. He married as a second wife, in 1868, Mira 
Hitchcock, daughter of Rev. Luke Hitchcock. 

It may seem puerile, but we can not forbear a 
note or two here. The Rock River Conference 
surely has taken its part of the general Church po- 
sitions. In 1844 John T. Mitchell was elected one 
of the book agents at Cincinnati, and Luke Hitch- 
cock to the same position in 1860. Dr. Fowler was 
editor of the Christian Advocate in 1876, and J. H. 
Vincent was elected editor of Sunday-school publi- 
cations in 1868. Bishop Fowler is the only mem- 
ber of the Rock River Conference that has been 
elected bishop ; but Evanston has had at the head 
of her institutions four men — R. S. Foster, E. O. 
Haven, Dr. Ninde, and C. H. Fowler — who after- 
wards became bishops. 

But we turn to note another, the third Meth- 
odist Church, organized in Chicago. From the time 
the old Clark Street Church was moved across the 
river from the North Side, in 1838, there had been 
many members residing in North Chicago, and by 
the year 1847 a church was really needed in that 
part of the city. There were still but two churches 


on the North Side. These were the St. James Epis- 
copal and the Sailors' Bethel. The troubles at Clark 
Street hastened the organization. Many who sym- 
pathized with James Mitchell, and who were dis- 
pleased with the choir and other arrangements which 
they esteemed worldly, set about building a church 
on Indiana Street, between Clark and Dearborn, on 
the North Side, where, with plainness .of dress, free 
seats, congregational singing, and a more spiritual 
type of religion, they could carry out their views of 
" old-fashioned Methodism." The leaders in this 
movement were George F. Foster and Charles Ly- 
man, a man who came from New York in 1846, and 
who in 1864 had charge of the retail department 
of Stewart's great store in New York City. We 
may as well observe here that Indiana Street lost, 
years ago, all the peculiar ideas with which it set 
out, save the idea of singing. They have been rent- 
ing pews for several years. The society had in 1865 
what came nearest to model singing of any Church 
in the West. On the fifth day of August, 1847, six 
days before the conference met at Clark Street that 
year, Sias Bolles, James Mitchell, George F. Foster, 
Charles H. P. Lyman, and Andrew J. Brown met 
at the house of George F. Foster, standing then on 
the corner of Clark and Kinzie Streets, where the 
Revere House afterwards stood, for the purpose of 
organizing a new Church. J. Mitchell was chair- 
man ; A. J. Brown was chosen secretary. Within 
a few days about twenty members joined the society. 
Francis Jordan, Charles Sweet, C. H. P. Lyman, 
Captain Jeremy Hixon, and George F. Foster were 


elected trustees. The trustees met, August 9th, at 
the house of Charles Sweet, whose wife was Susau 
Wentworth, one of the first that joined the Church 
in Chicago in 1837. G. F. Foster was elected pres- 
ident of the board, and A. J. Brown was requested 
to circulate a paper to obtain subscriptions for build- 
ing a " chapel." A petition was sent over to the 
conference, then in session, for a preacher the next 
year. Freeborn Haney was appointed. The first 
quarterly-meeting was held October 7, 1847 — J. 
Chandler, presiding elder ; F. Haney, pastor. Geo. 
F. Foster, A. J. Brown, C. H. P. Lyman, Isaiah 
Shaw, and J. H. Sensor were elected as the first 
board of stewards. J. E. Love, local preacher, was 
received by letter. In December a Church mis- 
sionary society was organized ; J. E. Love and H. 
Whitehead, vice-presidents, and E. M. Gustine, 
treasurer. The ground where, for seventeen years, 
the Indiana Street Church stood was purchased for 
$1,200, and the church erected at a cost of about 
$1,000. The house, built in the old style, steeple- 
less, and a low frame, was dedicated by James 
Mitchell. The text from which he preached to a 
crowded house was Haggai ii, 9 : " The glory 
of this latter house shall be greater than of the 
former." This was the third Chicago church the 
Mitchells had dedicated. There was a good revival 
during the Winter of 1848, and during the first 
year one hundred names were enrolled on the 
Church records ; but, by various leakages, the year 
closed with only thirty-two members. In 1848 
John F. Devore was preacher in charge. During 



this year, in striving to reject their elder, Hooper 
Crews, there arose great difficulties, and many of 
the leading members withdrew from the Church 
and, with Mr. Lyman as a leader, met in a class by 
themselves for a time ; and if they could have taken 
the church, as they desired to do, would have or- 
ganized a separate society. They went so far, we 
believe, as to write to James Mitchell to come up 
and preach for them. He had the good sense to 
write to them, showing the result of all such inde- 
pendent affairs, and the lone bark was abandoned, 
and after a few months nearly all returned to the 
Church. In 1849 Zadoc Hall, a man of prudence 
and peace, was appointed to the charge. He found 
seventy members, and things in a disturbed state. 
The larger portion of the best members were still 
out of the Church, but, by persuasion, most of them 
were induced to return. The society set to work 
anew, and built a good brick parsonage on the 
church lot. It was a slim year for a city pastor. 
He received, counting a donation, in all, two hun- 
dred and eighty-seven dollars. " It was poor pay," 
says the preacher ; " but the people were poor and 
times hard." In 1850, two hundred and eighty- 
seven dollars ; 1865, two thousand five hundred 
dollars. Some change ! About fifty members were 
reported to conference, and Boyd Lowe, an unmar- 
ried man, sent to the work. As the Church went 
out to maintain what they called " old landmarks," 
but really only the Southern mode of doing things, 
up to this time, including Boyd Lowe, all their 
preachers were drawn from the Southern or Ohio 


class. Brother Lowe was a young man of good 
promise, but hardly the best man for a rising city 
Church ; and it was with great difficulty he main- 
tained his position among this people, who were a 
little difficult to please. But at the end of the year 
there began a new and prosperous era for that zeal- 
ous little Church, whose doings shall yet a little 
further "grace" our pages. The boy, A. R. Scran- 
ton, forward for prayers at the quarterly-meeting, 
after C. B. Tippett preached at old Clark Street in 
1845, was, in the midst of all this tumult, to come 
out chastened and prepared for effectual Christian 
labor. We could write no name on these pages 
with a heartier good-will than the name of that 
old-time fellow-apprentice. 

During Sias Bolles's time, in 1853, ninety pro- 
bationers were added to the Church. The Church, 
since 1850, has pursued the even tenor of its way, 
blessed with general prosperity. Its Sunday-school 
from 1850 has been one of the best in the city. 
The society paid, from 1847 to 1852, for lots, 
$1,500; for church building, $1,200; for parsonage, 
$800 ; and for support of its pastors, $3,000. The 
church was enlarged in 1854. In 1857 a subscrip- 
tion was started by Thomas "Williams for the pur- 
pose of building a new church. About twenty 
thousand dollars was secured, and a lot was bar- 
gained for; but the crash of 1857 put an end to all 
enterprises. The whole of the old property went 
to pay debts, and in 1863 the society was without a 
home. A new site was selected at the corner of 
LaSalle Street and Chicago Avenue, and the vestry 


of a new church was completed and dedicated in 
1864. " One of the members says the property is 
worth forty thousand, and we are all happy, feeling 
that the Lord is with us." 

The new and elegant Grace Church was erected 
mainly under the direction of Abner R. Scranton. 
The Sunday-school paid for the twelve-hundred- 
dollar church-organ, and the ladies paid for the lot. 
One young lady collected ninety-five dollars to 
apply on this. The society entered the church in 
the Summer of 1865, and when they were well at 
work they had adopted every scheme which was 
renounced in 1847. It is probable, however, only 
A. J. Brown and A. R. Scranton, of the members 
of Indiana Street in 1847, entered as members into 
the new Grace Church. Some years before leaving 
the old chapel they had adopted seat-renting, and 
now they had a fine organ and the best of singing. 
According to the laws of philosophy, they should 
have the most dilletante singing in he city ; for, as 
a rule, there is reaction from one extreme to an- 
other. Mankind are ever swinging on a pendulum. 
In politics, manners, fashion, religion, men are 
ever swinging from one extreme to another. Fixed 
bodies, if they move, go in circles, or swing. The 
Church barely escapes such a fate. In 1857 the 
singing of Indiana Street was congregational of the 
poorest kind, in which five or six discordant voices 
joined. Those who have pleaded for " old-fash- 
ioned " singing have received their views by wor- 
shiping in small houses ; and because a company in 
a small house have sung together, they think it can 


as easily be done in a large church. But there are 
few singers with sufficient compass of voice to lead 
in accord a large Church congregation. Hence 
discords arise, and congregational singing becomes 
a hard thing to keep up. A good instrument will 
alone remedy this. Indiana Street society was 
ready to adopt choir-singing or any thing that 
would deliver them from harping on " Hebron " and 
"Balerma" year after year. A fortunate circum- 
stance saved them. The new tune and hymn book 
was issued in 1857. In 1858 Mr. Billings taught 
a singing-school for the benefit of the Church. He 
found there a modest young man, Geo. H. Dunham 
by name, who would make a leader. Billings per- 
suaded him to stand in front of the congregation, 
and, with an instrument to assist, to lead the sing- 
ing. This proved a perfect success. But by the 
time they had entered Grace Church they had used 
the tune and hymn book until the tunes had be- 
come commonplace. In its stead they adopted a 
new tune-book, and since then they keep up the 
same (only improved) style of singing. A select 
company sit in front of the pulpit, near the organ 
key-board, and lead the singing, which is joined in 
by the whole congregation ; and in 1864 they had 
there what came nearest to being model singing 
ever witnessed by the writer. In 1864 the pastor, 
J. C. Stoughton, reported two hundred members, a 
church worth thirty thousand dollars, four hundred 
and fifty-two dollars missionary money, and a Sun- 
day-school with one hundred and eighty scholars. 
The building used in 1864 was only a vestry in the 


rear of the large and superb edifice dedicated in 
1867, but was one of the neatest and (xracefullest 
churches in the city. The significant emblems on 
the trefoil windows — the one over the pulpit having 
an anchor and a cross circled by a crown, with the 
words, "The glory of this latter house is greater 
than the former " — are in taste and beauty. 

The great Chicago fire of October 9, 1871, will 
pass down into history as one of the events of the 
last fifty years of the nineteenth century. The 
sufferings of Chicago Methodists and of Chicago 
Methodism are too stupendous to be narrated here. 
Churches in ruins, and the property of those who 
had built and sustained them obliterated, was a 
condition of things to appall the stoutest hearts and 
the most ardent faith. The fire entered the south 
division from the West Side, crossing the river 
about at Van Buren Street. The wind that was 
sweeping wildly toward the north drove the fire 
before it. Chicago became a seething ocean of smoke 
and flame. Height and depth were flashing with 
furious fires. A whole nation stood appalled before 
the mightiest conflagration of the continent. The 
monuments of forty years melted away in that fur- 
nace that gleamed with the flames of burning hopes. 
The fires swept on to the north to the limits of the 
city, and stopped because there was no farther food 
for flames. In this dire calamity the Clark Street 
block and Grace Church were laid in ashes. The 
fire beat slowly to the southward against the wind, 
and was finally checked about at Harrison Street. 
The buildings immediately north of the elegant 


Wabash Avenue Church were destroyed, and the 
stone walls of the church became the barrier to 
stay the fire at that point. The building was at 
once appropriated by the government as a post- 

The Clark Street block was the third church- 
building the Methodist society had erected on that 
corner. Ten days after the fire the trustees met on 
the ruins. A committee was chosen to secure plans 
for a new building. They had been so fortunate as 
to have the old block insured in a company that 
was not ruined by the fire, and the insurance funds 
went far toward erecting a new block. December 
8, 1872, the new lecture-room was dedicated, and 
in a few months the main audience-room was ready 
for use. The whole structure cost one hundred and 
thirty thousand dollars. 

For years previous to the fire Abner Reeve 
Scranton had been -the moneyed pillar of Grace 
Church. He had been one of the first members of 
the old Indiana Street Church in 1847. Mr. Scran- 
ton came to Chicago with his father's family in 
1839. In 1845, when sevnteen, he entereed the 
ship-furnishing establishment of George F. Foster 
as an apprentice, in company with the present 
writer. In a few years he secured an interest in 
the business, and finally, with another young man, 
succeeded to the old George F. Foster firm. In 
1871 Mr. Scranton had a large amount of property, 
mainly lots and buildings. Concerning his fire ex- 
perience Grant Goodrich, in an address, said : " He 
commenced business for himself. God prospered 


him, and he had set his heart on seeing Grace 
Church completed. He had given and worked, and 
worked and given, until it was completed. He saw 
his houses, his store and all its contents swallowed 
up by the flame, with no word of anguish from his 
lips. But on hearing some one report the burning 
of Grace Church, he exclaimed, ' O, that is the 
hardest of all !' " 

A. R. Scranton died in August, 1885. 

The first Sunday after the fire the pastor, Rev. 
M. M. Parkhurst, held service on the ruins of 
Grace Church. By December 3d the society en- 
tered a rough, temporary tabernacle, built within 
the old walls. Since then, in another location, a 
new church has been built, and Grace Church 
lives on. 




CRYSTAL LAKE received Henry Minard as 
preacher in 1845. The appointments were at 
Sanborn's, Deats's, Pleasant Grove, Anderson's, 
Morris's (Harmony), Pigeon Woods (Hampshire), 
Crystal Lake, Virginia Settlement, and Jackson's. 
During the Summer of 1846 James Mitchell, pre- 
siding elder of the (Chicago) district appointed a 
Sunday-school convention at St. Charles. C. H. 
Shapley, L. H. Bishop, E. G. Wood, I. H. Fair- 
child, J. T. Sanborn, Stephen Albro, and Uriah 
Cottle were chosen delegates from Crystal Lake 
Circuit. This was probably the first move of the 
kind in the Sunday-school line in the country. 
Soon after, the elder called a meeting at Clark 
Street Church to discuss Sunday-school matters, and 
he may be considered the first who introduced any 
special efforts in the Sunday-school cause in the 
conference. I. H. Fairchild, who afterwards went 
to the Nazarites, was twice recommended to the 
conference for admission from the circuit, but was 
not admitted. At a quarterly-meeting held at 
Pleasant Grove in October, 1846, a complaint was 
made against Robert Williams, a local preacher, for 
making personal attacks in the pulpit, and a reso- 


lution was passed to the effect that, "it is improper 
and unfair " to take advantage of the position to be 
personal — a decision in which all right-minded men 
must coincide. The Sunday-school report for 1847 
was as follows: Franklinville, seventy scholars; 
Sanford's, thirty-two; Pleasant Grove, thirty; Mor- 
ris class, forty; Murphy's, thirty-seven; Andrus, 
ten ; Dow's, fifty. 

In 1849 H. Morehouse and George W. Murphy, 
both supplies, were on Crystal Lake Circuit. G. 
W. Murphy was recommended to conference and 
received that year, making the fifth person that 
came up to the conference from Crystal Lake Cir- 
cuit. The work remained about the same size until 
1852, when Marengo Circuit was organized. The 
little village near the beautiful lake has continued 
to give name to a circuit from the beginning in 
1839 until now. There are eleven circuits at this 
time on the ground covered by Crystal Lake Cir- 
cuit in 1839, and on each of these circuits there 
were appointments and classes in that year. They 
are Crystal Lake, McHenry, Richmond, Woodstock, 
Belden, Marengo, Harvard, Big Foot, Chemung, 
Round Prairie, and Harmony. Crystal Lake in 
1865 embraced Crystal Lake, Queen Ann, and 
Ridgefield Station. 

Several new charges appeared in 1845. There 
was a four week's circuit, called without any good 
reason City Mission, to which S. F. Denning was 
appointed. It joined the old Wheeling work. A 
Brother Whedon was on the circuit as a supply. 
The preachers held meetings at Union Ridge in a 


small log school-house until the parsonage was built 
in 1845, after which, during the first year, the 
preaching was in that. The second year a frame 
school-house was built half a mile from the par- 
sonage, which was twelve miles north-west of Chi- 
cago. The second appointment was at Cazenovia, 
a place on the Des Plaines, fourteen miles north- 
west of Chicago. Another was at Merrill's Point 
(sometimes called Whisky Point), seven miles from 
the city. There were other appointments at Alli- 
son's school-house on the Des Plaines, seven miles 
•north-west of the parsonage; at the Windmill, or 
Wren's school-house, not far from where the Chi- 
cago camp-meetings were held previous to 1864; at 
Burlingame's, four miles east of the Windmill; in 
a log school-house, eighteen miles up the North 
Branch; at Wilson's Bridge, on the North Branch, 
fourteen miles from Chicago ; at Dutchman's Point, 
ten miles from Chicago, on the Milwaukee Road; 
at Grosse Point (now Evanston), in a log school- 
house on the ridge; and three miles north of the 
present site of Evanston. They also preached at 
Lytle's, three miles north-west of the city, but had 
no class there. The Dutchman's Point, named 
above, was so called because a clever Dutchman for 
many years in the early day kept a tavern on the 
Milwaukee Road. That Dutchman was John Plank, 
who was afterwards for several years a member of 
the Rock River Conference as presiding elder on 
German districts. This circuit changed names 
several times. It was Union Ridge for several 
years, but after a time was cut up into the petty 


stations that abounded in that portion of the country, 
as Brickton, Niles, and North field. 

Many an Indian chief has given name to locali- 
ties in our country. Is not here poetic iustice? 
Scathed and peeled, driven to bay, and his wild 
nature aroused to madness^ he has committed deeds 
of blood for which his white brethren have paid 
him in extinction. His name is left upon lands, 
rivers, and cities as lasting memorials of his exist- 
ence. Mississippi, Chicago, Illinois, Big Foot, Iro- 
quois, Kankakee, — are not all these Indian names? 
From Channahon to the Indiana line flows a stream 
over a rocky bed, Kankakee, by name, which is 
one of the most beautiful streams in the State. 
Bordered with rocks and gushing springs and forests, 
the country is the pleasantest portion of Illinois. 
And here have been established many of our pleas- 
antest fields of labor. In 1845 Yellowhead 
Mission appeared on the lists. It took its name 
from a grove five miles north-east of Momence, a 
mile east of Grant Park, bordering on the Indiana 
line. The grove was named after an old Indian 
chief, who formerly resided there. Archibald Mor- 
rison, an eccentric but devoted local preacher, in 
whose family was young Russel Seager, William 
Hathway, and families, who were nearly all Meth- 
odists, arrived at Yellowhead Grove June 7, 1838. 
The same Fall Mr. Morrison attended a quarterly- 
meeting, either at Joliet or Chicago, to ask for a 
preacher. In January, 1839, John Clark, presiding 
elder of the Chicago District, and Jesse Halsted, 
preacher-in-charge at Crete, held a quarterly-meet- 


ing about two miles north-east of Momence in the 
log house of William Nichols. A class was then 
formed, consisting of A. Morrison, leader, his wife 
Elizabeth, Bluford and Hannah Dulin, Mrs. John- 
ston and daughter, and William and Marilla Hath- 
way. There was an appointment at Mr. Morrison's, 
where the preachers on the Joliet Circuit preached 
in 1843. In 1844 the eastern portion of Joliet 
Circuit was set of, and called Beebe's Grove; the 
same was changed to Yellowhead in 1845. The 
work included all the country from Bourbonais 
Grove- (Kankakee) on both sides of the Kankakee 
River to the Indiana line. The name of the charge 
was changed from time to time. In 1847 it became 
Kankakee Mission, and in 1851 Momence Circuit. 
In 1853 the country around Kankakee City was 
set off into a separate circuit, leaving the Momence 
work about what it has been ever since. In 1853 
the appointments were at Momence in a brick 
school-house, at Yellowhead, at Legg's and West's 
on the south side of the river. A neat church was 
built at Momence in 1863. 

The first Protestant church in the county was 
built at Yellowhead in 1845, mostly through the 
efforts of Mr. A. Morrison. This was situated 
about a mile south-east from Grant Park. When 
the railroad went through, and a station was es- 
tablished called Grant Park, the old Yellowhead 
Church was moved over there, and was used as a 
place of worship for many years. In 1882 Grant 
Park became a separate charge, with G. K. Hoover 
as pastor. About the year 1876, under the special 


care of the pastor, William Clark, and Russel Sea- 
ger, a new five thousand dollar church was built, 
and dedicated September 5th. The church, the 
yard, even to the fence and sodding, and the plant- 
ing of flowers and trees, was finished by the time 
of dedication day, and the whole paid for. Revi- 
val services, resulting in the conversion of many 
souls, conducted by W. C. Willing and his efficient 
wife, Jennie F. Willing, were held in connection 
with the dedication services. Three of the first 
eight members in 1838 were present at the dedica- 
tion. This church was built largely by the energy 
of a prominent layman, who came out as a boy in 
the family of Mr. Morrison in 1838. Russel Seager, 
who deserves more than a passing note, was born in 
Ulster County, New York, April 19, 1821. At fif- 
teen he was left fatherless, the oldest of seven child- 
ren. Coming in 1838, at the age of seventeen, he 
set to work with the energy of a man, and in four 
years welcomed his widowed mother and her family 
to a new home in the West. He became a Christian, 
and joined the Church under the labors of S. R. 
Beggs in 1843. He became a steward in 1844 and 
a trustee in 1846, and never failed to fill those offi- 
ces in the Church until his death in 1881. For 
much of the time he was also a class-leader and 
Bible-class teacher. His spiritual life, his intellect- 
ual ability, his temperance principles, and his pa- 
triotism, were so conspicuous he was often called 
upon for addresses upon these subjects. He died 
in 1881, and was mourned at his funeral by so 
many the crowd could not enter the beautiful church 


where the services were held. At a memorial ser- 
vice one who knew him best, remarked : " Metho- 
dism in Kankakee County has lost its strongest 
man." His life and death were such that his wife 
observed : " We will all feel so lonely without him, 
but there is nothing dark as we think of his going." 

He was one of those laymen who carry the in- 
terests of the Church of their choice near their 
hearts. Joel Manning, of Lockport ; Otis Hardy, of 
Joliet; Nathan E. Lyman and William Brown, of 
Rockford; T. F. Hastie, of Apple River; Grant 
Goodrich, Orrington Lunt, G. C. Cook, and A. R. 
Scranton, of Chicago, are of the same list. May 
their numbers increase everywhere. 

Little Rock is another charge that appeared 
in 1845. William Royal, when on his Fox River 
Mission in 1835, explored the country from Ottawa 
to Rockford, establishing appointments and organ- 
izing classes. Somonoc, or the Hough neighbor- 
hood on Somonoc Creek, near Sandwich, became an 
appointment in 1836. In 1837 the Somonoc Cir- 
cuit was formed, and Dr. Stephen Arnold came on 
as the preacher. The circuit embraced the settle- 
ments around the groves skirting Little Rock and 
Sycamore Creeks. In 1839 the name was changed 
to Bristol, with Austin F. Rogers, who was a super- 
annuated member of the Southern Illinois Confer- 
ence in 1864, as preacher. Bristol at that time 
was quite a village on Fox River, and as a class 
had- been organized a year before, a parsonage was 
bought in the village in which for a year or two the 
preachers resided. The circuit continued until 1842. 


In 1841 William Kimball was the preacher. During 
the year Mr. Kimball became disaffected by the Wes- 
leyan movement, and located in 1842. What was 
left of the circuit went on to Indian Creek the 
next year, which had Rufus Lummery as preacher. 

During the year Mr. Lummery led nearly all 
the members after him out of the Church into the 
Wesleyan tide, and the classes became broken up. 
But in 1845 the old circuit was revived, bearing 
the name of Little Rock. Its center was about 
Piano, then unbuilt, and there were appointments 
at Little Rock, Bristol, Sugar Grove, and the regions 
around. O. W. Munger, the preacher, revived the 
appointment at Bristol and other places. The cir- 
cuit continued in about the same form until 1855, 
when the Burlington Railway began to change the 
face of the country, and as the stations grew into 
importance they became centers, and the old Little 
Rock Circuit, like many others, was dissolved. 

Mt. Carroll is another of the new works of 
1845. Mt. Carroll had been a preaching-place on the 
Savannah and other circuits from an early day, and 
now gave name to a work which embraced most of 
what had been the Savannah Circuit in 1840. The 
appointments in 1851 were at Mt. Carroll, Savan- 
nah, Red School-house in the neighborhood of Bliss 
Tavern, Ashley's School-house, and Bailey's Settle- 
ment. The preacher in 1851 was the fiery Miles 
L. Reed, whose soul was aglow, and who labored 
after the manner of the itinerants of 1784. When 
he went on the work every thing was down. He 
commenced preaching in the court-house at Mt. 


Carroll the most plain and pointed sermons the 
people had ever listened to. He also began a sys- 
tematic course of pastoral visiting, which was kept 
up until the first of January, when he began a pro- 
tracted meeting in Carroll, which was kept up until 
the middle of March. During the time nearly one 
hundred and fifty souls were converted. Mr. Reed 
was called there the Hell-Fire Preacher. Among 
his most appreciating hearers was a son of the tav- 
ern-keeper, two miles from town. This young man, 
though married and old enough to be steady, was 
wild as a colt. He fiddled at dances, and mingled 
with profane young men, who vied with each other 
in uttering the most original oaths. His whole 
nature was made of sport and mischief. Such a 
man as Reed would be sure to be fancied by such 
a piece of human nature as the tavern-keeper's son 
more than your staid and dignified minister, and he 
became powerfully converted, and afterwards be- 
came one of the most efficient ministers of the 
Rock River Conference. George J. Bliss, for 
this is the man, was sent to Sterling as a supply in 
1854, and in 1855 was admitted to conference. He 
since traveled Crane Grove, Cedarville, Picatonica, 
Big Foot Circuits, and Belvidere charge. He was 
nearly a copy of M. L. Reed. Lively, apt, talented, 
quick in reply, fearless, small in stature, with keen 
black eyes, he was a man that could win his way 
anywhere. Cheerful amid the whirling tempests, 
he aided in planting live Methodism on our ground. 
Mt. Carroll has been distinguished for revivals. 
In the Winter of 1857 there was one promoted by 



the labors of D. H. Wheeler, appointed by Abraham 
Lincoln consul to Genoa, in 1860, and the pastor, 
Robert Beatty. Mr. Wheeler was at the time a local 
preacher and editor of the county paper. It was 
one of the most sweeping revivals ever witnessed 
in the conference. Over two hundred were con- 
verted. There was another nearly like it in the 
Winter of 1860, under the labors of R. A. Blanch- 
ard. The year 1857 closed with two hundred and 
forty-nine members, and consequently Mt. Carroll 
was made a station, the other appointments going 
into Savannah Circuit. It has remained in this 
form ever since, being one of the pleasantest charges 
in the western part of the work. A church was 
built in 1854. 

In 1846 but two new charges appeared. These 
were Old Town (Galena), and Oregon. Up to 1865 
but two places in the conference had succeeded in 
maintaining more than one church. These were 
Chicago, Rockford, Galena, Freeport; and Aurora 
had made attempts, but had failed. The first time 
there was a second preacher in Galena was in 1846, 
when Abraham Hanson was appointed to Old Town. 
The next year the preacher was B. L. Thomas, and 
during the year the society was disbanded and re- 
turned to Bench Street. The attempt to sustain a 
second charge was renewed again in 1851 on the 
east side of Fever River. John P. Brooks, a good 
brother, afterwards (1862 to 1864) superintendent 
of public instruction for the State, was appointed to 
the work. He was followed by John L. Jenkins, 
who remained but a portion of the year. The mis- 


sion was then abandoned, and to this day Galena 
supports but one charge. During Brother Brooks 
year there were three small classes, a Sabbath- 
school, and an appointment three miles in the 
country called Mt. Hope. The old Church, it 
seems, did not approve of the movement, and this 
is, perhaps, one cause of the failure. But the 
preacher and the little band labored faithfully, with 
prospects of success, and, perhaps, had the right 
kind of men succeeded to the work there might 
have been a prosperous Church there by this time. 
About thirty members were reported in 1852. 

We have not been able to learn when the first 
class was organized at Oregon. There was an ap- 
pointment there in 1841, and in 1846, in connec- 
tion with Grand de Tour, it formed a circuit to 
which J. C. Finley, an old professor at McKendree 
College, was appointed. Methodism, for some rea- 
son, perhaps from the shifting nature of its inhabi- 
tants, had for many years to struggle for an exist- 
ence in Oregon. Being the county seat there have 
been often Methodist county officers that helped 
while there, but who on departing left things feeble. 
The name at times disappeared from the minutes 
in Mt. Morris Circuit, and the place at other times 
has been the head-quarters of an important charge. 
In 1858 a neat brick church, under the arduous 
labors of H. L. Martin, was finished and dedicated 
by Dr. It. S. Foster, then president of the North- 
western University. The text was, " Great is the 
mystery of godliness," the preacher dwelling more 
particularly on " Justified by the Spirit." 


Oregon, though the county seat, was until 1871 
twelve miles from a railway, and was one of what 
we have been wont to call a " dead town " — one of 
the hardest fields for Methodist labor that can be 
found. There have been many good revivals there, 
and many faithful workers. Since the railroad 
came things have been prospering. 

The new appointments appearing in 1847 were 
Indiana Street, heretofore noticed, Waukegan, Lee 
Center, and Millville. The old Lake Circuit in 
1847 was changed to Little Fort — the name Wau- 
kegan bore from the early day until 1848. The 
appointments were in all portions of Lake County, 
and it was nearly the largest circuit in our bounds 
in that day. Little Fort had been a village from 
1835, but Methodism had not much of a hold there 
until after 1840. The place continued to be the 
head-quarters of Lake Circuit until 1849, when it 
became a station, receiving John F. Devore as 
preacher. S. F. Denning and James Selkrig, who 
at the close of the year joined the Wesleyans, were 
the preachers in 1847, and Mr. Denning and John 
Hodges in 1848. This second year there was preach- 
ing every Sabbath morning and evening in Wau- 
kegan in a room about twenty by thirty-two feet, 
over M. J. Brown's shop and lumber yard office. 
In 1848 the membership in town was about seventy. 
The church was built in the Summer of 1849, but 
they were not able to finish it before conference. 
The pews were being put in at conference time, so 
that it was dedicated by Hooper Crews soon after 
the new preacher arrived. At the time this church 


was finished, though humble in appearance, it was 
altogether the best in town — a position which it 
maintained until 1858, when the Presbyterians built 
one which excelled it. 

Since entering their church Waukegan Method- 
ism has ever maintained a firm foothold. But 
between the days of 1853 and 1858 it was as 
much as any religious society could do to maintain 
any sort of life in the place ; for there the wild 
spirit-rapping delusion won greater victories — vic- 
tories of ill and darkness — than anywhere else in 
"the West. The leading citizens adopted the most 
extravagant ideas of any infected by the mania, and, 
organizing a society, they kept up regular Sunday 
meetings, with addresses, for years. Two spiritual 
publications arose and died there. In one of these, 
The Orient, there are narratives of transactions that 
would do honor to a Hindu fable or a Mohammedan 
vision. Years hence it will hardly be believed that 
such things occurred or that such narratives could 
find believers. How weak, after all, is our boasted 
human nature when left to its own fancies ! It may 
as well be remarked here that in 1851 the mania 
first reached the State, and that until 1860 it wrought 
its ill of every kind. Broken families, insane minds, 
wild schemes, shipwreck of Christian souls, — all 
these were the sad results of its sway. In nearly 
every society in the conference there were more or 
less people effected by the delusion. In the neigh- 
borhood of Waukegan spiritualist speakers attended 
most of the funerals, and the dead in rap-taps came 
up, visiting nearly every house. Almost every large 


family could boast its "medium," and chaos seemed 
to reign. 

During these years there were no revivals at 
Waukegan. The Church only held its own, hardly 
daring to assert its rights. The first victory was 
won under the leadings of the somewhat erratic 
Wilbur McKaig, in 1858. He was popular with 
outsiders, and drew the crowd, giving the Church 
a prestige, if nothing more — and this is often a very 
needful thing ; and as the great revival spirit of 
1858 reached every corner, it passed not by Wau- 
kegan, and without eifort a revival went on. The 
people had had spiritualism until a nausea of the 
murky faith had been induced, and a longing for 
light drove them to the cross. Since then Meth- 
odism has prospered in Waukegan. There was a 
great revival, in 1850, and one hundred and ninety- 
eight members were reported. In 1855 there were 
one hundred and sixty members; in 1857, but one 
hundred and fourteen ; in 1858, two hundred and 
five. So it is ever ; error will triumph for awhile. 
It will put on taking forms, and win persons from 
the true way ; but the people shortly grow sick of 
the new isms, and long for the old way. The Gos- 
pel shows its divinity in that it is ever the refuge 
to which erring ones will flee for help when tired 
of shams and wanderings. 

When the three-year rule was adopted by the 
General Conference in 1864, Waukegan was the 
first in the conference to avail itself of its benefits. 
F. P. Cleveland, a worthy brother and fine preacher, 
was gladly claimed fbr the third year. He reported 


from the charge in 1864 one hundred and ninety- 
five members, a church worth three thousand dollars, 
a parsonage worth one thousand dollars, three hun- 
dred and fifteen dollars paid to the Missionary So- 
ciety, and one Sunday-school with three hundred 
scholars, and they had paid their pastor, besides a 
good parsonage, a salary of eleven hundred dollars. 
The church was refitted in 1866, and reopened Feb- 
ruary 24, 1867, by Dr. T. M. Eddy. 

We have new charges in 1848 under the names 
of Plainfield, Chemung, and Wappello. Plain- 
field is one of the oldest settled points in the con- 
ference — perhaps the oldest place where there were 
real settlers besides Galena and Chicago. When 
Jesse Walker went up Fox River in 1825 to estab- 
lish his Indian mission, he took with him a few rel- 
atives and other whites, who, on the abandonment 
of the mission in 1829, went over on the Dupage, 
and settled at what from thence was called Walker's 
Grove. A small saw-mill was soon erected ; for a 
frame house was built in Chicago in the Winter of 
1833, of oak and walnut lumber, hauled from Walk- 
er's Mill, at Walker's Grove. Here S. R. Beggs 
settled in the Winter of 1832. There was preach- 
ing as early as 1831, and probably from that time 
till now there has never been a time but what there 
has been a class and Methodist preaching there. It 
is the oldest society, except Galena, in the bounds 
of the Rock River Conference. The class was 
formed some time in the Summer of 1829. John 
Dew reached Galena in April, 1829, where he found 
a local preacher and a member or two besides, and 


some time during the Summer organized the class, 
and reported six members to the conference in Sep- 
tember. The class in Chicago was organized in the 
Summer of 1831, so that Galena and Plainfield so- 
cieties are two years older; but which is older of 
these two would be a question of interest. The 
Walker Grove Class consisted of nine members. 
These were Susannah, the wife of Jesse Walker; Jas. 
Walker and wife; Timothy B. Clark, whose ox-team 
took provisions to Chicago for a quarterly-meeting 
in 1832; Mrs. Clark ; Mr. and Mrs. Weed; Mr. and 
Mrs. Fish, with one or two more. The appoint- 
ment was included in the Peoria Mission, of which 
Jesse Walker had charge that year. In 1829 the 
Fox River Mission Circuit was formed ; Jesse 
Walker, preacher. Plainfield was one of the main 
points. The next year (1830) the name was changed 
to Chicago Mission, and Jesse Walker continued on 
the work. During the Summer of 1831 a camp- 
meeting was held at the Grove. The preachers 
present were S. R. Beggs, of Tazewell Circuit, on 
the first visit to the fair fields on which, since, he 
has put forth so much manly labor; Jesse Walker, 
the circuit preacher ; Isaac Scarritt, from Fort Clark 
(Peoria) Mission ; and Wm. See, the local preacher 
and government blacksmith, from the village at the 
forks of the Chicago River. " The meeting," says 
an old chronicler, "waxed warmer and warmer till 
Sunday evening, when victory turned on Israel's 
side. I invited mourners forward, and they came 
in good earnest. God's power was displayed in the 
salvation of souls. The membership, much renewed, 


blessed God and took courage." There were some 
two hundred whites, besides many Indians, present. 
It must be remembered these were gathered from a 
circuit at least sixty miles around. And all this in 
on obscure country place, before there had been an 
attempt made to form a class in the great emporium. 
Upon the outbreak of the Black Hawk war, in the 
Spring of 1*832, the inhabitants forted for a few 
days in Brother Beggs's house, a half a mile from 
the present site of Plainfield ; but soon all left for 
Chicago. This is probably the only time the preach- 
ing has been interrupted at Plainfield. In 1831, 
Chicago becoming a station, the remainder of the 
large circuit was called Des Plaines, Jesse Walker 
continuing as preacher, it being the fourth "Winter 
in succession he had kept Plainfield and vicinity in 
the bounds of his charge, but under the separate 
names of Peoria, Fox River, Chicago, and Des 
Plaines Mission. In 1832 Mr. Walker was suc- 
ceeded by S. R. Beggs, who continued on the work 
two years. 

The Juliet Circuit was organized in 1836, and 
included Plainfield as an appointment. S. R. Beggs 
was preacher. David Black well and E. Springer 
had been the preachers in the meantime. During 
the Fall of 1836 Brother Beggs circulated a sub- 
scription for a church in Plainfield, heading the list 
with one hundred dollars — an extravagant sum for 
that day — and he soon had a church under way. 
But the hard times of 1837 set in, and it was a long 
time before the church could be paid for. It was 
not finished until 1838. The Baptists commenced 



to build about the, same time, and it was not long 
till the little village could boast two churches, a 
thing which only Galena and Chicago could then 
boast of. The Baptist Church was organized Oc- 
tober 16, 1834. In 1839 a new circuit was organ- 
ized, called Milford, taking all the territory east of 
Fox River, as far as Oswego and Plainfield. Plain- 
field continued an appointment in the bounds of the 
Milford Circuit until, in 1848, it gave name to a 
charge. The place has been greatly blessed with 
revivals. In 1840, under E. Springer, there was a 
great work. " We seldom see," says S. R. Beggs, 
" such displays of divine power as was witnessed 
both among the professors and the unconverted." 
There was another good work there in 1845, and 
still another in 1848, under that revival genius, 
Absalom Wooliscroft. But in 1860, under the labors 
of A. W. Paige, there was the most extensive re- 
vival ever witnessed in that part of the country. 
The convictions were deep and pungent, and the 
conversions powerful. During the meeting there 
were as many as two hundred different persons for- 
ward for prayers. One hundred joined the Church, 
bringing the membership up to three hundred. The 
circuit in 1848 took in all the territory directly 
west from Plainfield to Fox River, the Groom 
school-house, near Specie Grove, being the western 
border. A parsonage was built before 1850. The 
preacher in 1848 was J. C. Stoughton, who remained 
two years on the charge, greeting the conference in 
1850 with a hospitable welcome. Plainfield in 1864 
had two hundred members, a church worth eighteen 


hundred dollars, and a Sunday-school with one hun- 
dred and fifty scholars. The society is now (1885) 
fifty-six years old. 

Chemung Circuit was made up in 1848 of parts 
of Crystal Lake and Belvidere Circuits. The ap- 
pointments were at Chemung, Round Prairie, Stone 
School-house, Burr Oak (near Sharon), Burr Oak 
(near Marengo), Big Foot, and Bonus Prairie. 
Chemung was then an ambitious village; but the 
North-western Railway established a station two 
miles away at Harvard, which has left Chemung to 
dwindle along. There have since been formed Big 
Foot, Harvard, and Round Prairie Circuits, leaving 
the old circuit with Chemung, County Line, Bonus 
Prairie, and Burr Oak. A class was formed at 
County Line by L. S. Walker in April, 1839. It 
was included in the Rockford Circuit. Edward 
Stevenson and wife, William Bowen and Mary, his 
wife, were the members. William Bowen was 
leader. A church was built here, six miles south- 
west of Harvard, in the Summer of 1861. Some 
years before, the Stevenson society had been di- 
vided, there being a dispute about the preaching- 
place, and the Harvard and Chemung preachers 
had appointments in school-houses within two miles 
of each other. J. H. More, of Harvard, and Will- 
iam R. Irvine, of Chemung, set to work to build a 
church and unite the societies. This church was 
dedicated in the Winter of 1862 by J. H. Vincent, 
then stationed at Court Street, Rockford. The text 
was, " Never man spake like this man." The ser- 
mon, like all preached in those days by this effective 


man, was full of thought. A. D. Field and R. A. 
Blanchard took part in the exercises. 

Pawpaw Circuit appeared in 1849. It in- 
cluded Shabbona, Melugin's, and Pawpaw Groves. 
In 1861, after Shabbona was taken off, there were 
appointments at Pawpaw, East and South Pawpaw, 
Cottage Hill, and at the east and west end of Me- 
lugin's Grove. In June, 1860, J. S. David, the 
preacher, undertook to hold a camp-meeting at Me- 
lugin's Grove, near an unfinished church ; but it 
rained every day of the meeting in gentle showers. 
On Sunday, at eleven o'clock, just as the present 
writer was about to announce his text, a pleasant 
shower began to fall, and the six hundred people, 
under trees and umbrellas, stood for three-quarters 
of an hour during the sermon, with uninterrupted 
attention. It was preaching under difficulties to 
the most patient congregation the preacher ever 
had the pleasure of addressing. The country com- 
posing this circuit is between the railways, and, 
being unaffected by rising towns, remained without 
much change for years. 

The work had been districted during the period 
we have passed over as follows: 

1846. Chicago District, James Mitchell, P. E. ; 
Ottawa District, Milton Bourne, P. E. ; Mt. Morris 
District, H. Crews, P. E. 

1847. Chicago District, John Chandler, P. E. ; 
Ottawa District, M. Bourne, P. E. ; Rock Island 
District, John Sinclair, P. E. ; Mt. Morris District, 
H. Crews, P. E. 

1848. Chicago District, H. Crews, P. E. ; Ot- 


tawa District, M. Bourne, P. E. ; Rock Island 
District, John Sinclair, P. E. ; Mt. Morris District, 
P. Judson, P. E. 

1849. Chicago District, A. L. Risley, P. E. ; 
Ottawa District, M. Bourne, P. E. ; Rock Island 
District, J. Sinclair, P. E. ; Mt. Morris District, 
P. Judson, P. E. 

Including 1845, we have but two new men ; 
they are Elders Risley and Chandler. Two of the 
Chicago charges, as before stated, would not receive 
cordially as elder any one who had voted in the 
Mitchell case, and the bishop was obliged to " im- 
port" — to use a modern term — a brother from 
Southern Illinois. But while Asahel L. Risley was 
an old and tried minister, he did not find Northern 
ways pleasant, and after supplying the Chicago Dis- 
trict two years went back to the Illinois Conference. 
Many useful men came into conference on probation 
between 1845 and 1850. We can do but little more 
than name some of them. 


Lewis R. Ellis was expelled in 1852 for im- 
moral conduct, and the very week he was expelled 
from the Rock River Conference he joined the 
Protestant Methodist Church, and was stationed in 
Chicago! After serving there two years he went 

Justus M. Hinman was a quiet, good brother, 
who went to California in 1851, and was, we be- 
lieve, traveling a circuit there in 1864. Boyd 
Lowe, after twenty years, was in 1865 doing reg- 


ular work in the conference. John Grundy was 
a small, quiet Englishman, who the same year 
traveled in Central Illinois Conference. Wesley 
Lattin was, from the start, more than usually elo- 
quent and popular. He came to conference from 
the neighborhood of Sycamore, and served his first 
year on Sycamore Circuit. He passed the next 
year into Wisconsin, where he became a revivalist, 
a peacemaker, and a preacher of the fullness of the 
Gospel. William B. Atkinson was a small, slow, 
eloquent Irishman, whose only quality fitting him 
for a Methodist preacher was the power to preach 
the most eloquent of sermons. He retired from the 
conference and joined the Congregationalists in 
1852. Hector J. Humphrey was a man-of-all- 
work, a driver, and a revivalist. In 1861 he went 
South as major in an Illinois cavalry regiment, and 
that is the last we have known of him. Wesson 
G. Miller, we believe, never traveled in our 
bounds ; but he became a leading man in Wis- 
consin, being elder some of the time, and now 
(1885) is a leading man in the Nebraska Conference. 

CLASS OF 1846. 

Benjamin Applebee was an eloquent, labo- 
rious, successful preacher. He is now in the Central 
Illinois Conference. W. M. Osborne has spoken 
for himself efficiently for twenty years. He is a 
member of the North-west Wisconsin Conference. 
Benjamin Close went out to Oregon about 1853, 
and after laboring as a pioneer as far up as Puget 
Sound he returned to Illinois in 1857, and has 


since been doing efficient work in the Rock River 
Conference. Milton L. Haney is the deepest 
thoughted man of the four brothers. Eloquent, 
pious, laborious, he has ever made his mark. 
Alonzo Falkenbury was a member of a fine 
family in White Hall, New York. He came to 
Iroquois County in 1845 when a young man, and 
at Middleport was county judge, school commis- 
sioner, school teacher, assessor, and local preacher 
all at one time. He was admitted to conference 
this year against his will, and never went to his 
work. He was again admitted in 1851, and trav- 
eled for several years, when he located. He was 
for awhile in 1865 on Sinclair Circuit. Thomas 
F. Royal was a son of the old pioneer William 
Royal. He at once became beloved and popular. 
He went with his relatives in 1853 across the 
country to Oregon, and has ever since been a useful 
member of the Oregon Conference. For some 
time he was principal of Umpqua Academy. He 
was educated at McKendree College when John L. 
Scripps of the Chicago Tribune was teacher there. 
H. N. Irish died soon and passed from our view. 
He was the father of Sarepta Irish Henry, one of 
our best Western song writers. 

CLASS OF 1847. 

Christopher Lazenbee was from England. 
He was converted among the primitive Methodists, 
and went to Wisconsin about 1845 as a primitive 
Methodist preacher, and formed, we believe, the first 
society of that denomination in the West. But 


finding that there was no special use for such a 
people here he united with the Rock River Con- 
ference, in connection with which he labored effec- 
tively for many years. He was one of our most 
deeply pious members. Francis A. Reed was 
raised up into religious life at Joliet, and as an ex- 
horter he filled many appointments in the surround- 
ing country. Amiable, modest, pious, he has always 
been loved and useful. What kind of a preacher 
he is we only know from hearsay, for it is supposed 
that he never preaches before preachers. Worthy 
and beloved is his name. All this changed when 
he became presiding elder in 1869. But we* can 
not linger over these names. The time has not 
come for a summing up of their lives. Most of 
them are still making history. There was Roswell 
N. Morse, a native of Illinois, twenty-six years 
old in 1847, who has been one of our most zealous 
workers; Simpson Guyer, honest, reliable, sure; 
Elijah Stone, talented, somewhat metaphysical, 
who never worked up to his own standard ; Robert 
K. Bibbins, a student of Mt. Morris, and a man 
whose health has never been equal to his talent 
and will to do; C. W. Batchellor, whose zeal 
and devotion to the work was more than most; S. 
R. Thorp, the clever professor at Mt. Morris; and 
James E. Wilson, a transferring man, who ex- 
celled in poetic flashes and glittering eloquence. 

CLASS OF 1848. 

The class this year was small, yet not less hon- 
orable than others. There were C. C. Olds, the 


nervous, driving principal of Rock River Seminary 
in 1847, who has since served so long as professor 
at Albion, Michigan; and William J. Smith, 
raised in Joliet, and who labored most of his time 
in the bounds of the Central Illinois Conference. 
He was amiable and useful. W. P. Jones, the 
worthy steward at Mt. Morris at the time of joining 
conference, who had been for twenty years a local 
preacher, and who has filled many of our best ap- 
pointments most acceptably, and who for years 
efficiently looked after the temporal interests of the 
Female College at Evanston; James F. Chaffee, 
a man who stood high here, and seems to be appre- 
ciated in Minnesota, where he makes an acceptable 
presiding elder ; Jesse B. Quinby, small and quiet 
in manner, reliable, useful; W. S. Fidlee, whose 
death will be noticed elsewhere ; A. D. Field, J. J. 
Hedstrom, the Illinois apostle to the Swedes, and 
W. Wilmot, whose talents were more marked than 
his success. 

The class of 1849 has few names in it that ever 
did service here. There was William Fotjghts; 
J. P. Vance, the lawyer, who became a preacher; 
Joseph S. Wilson, who was successful at a trade, 
or in managing rampant rowdies; Myron L. 
Averil, and John B. Dodge, who was discon- 
tinued in 1852 on account of ill health, and who, 
after lingering along, went South to receive benefit, 
and died in Louisiana in 1855. 

The deaths during our Jperiod were few. In 
1846 C. D. Cahoon is reported among the departed. 
He had been the year before appointed to Rockford, 


and had died after his first Sabbath. This was the 
only work he ever did in our bounds. In 1848 
there is another name inserted among the honored 
dead. James Lackenby was born in York, 
England, in 1810. Early in life he gave his life to 
Christ, and united with the Wesleyans. After la- 
boring for several years as a local preacher he came 
to this country in 1839, and in 1844 was admitted 
to conference and appointed to Momence Circuit. 
He was afterwards on the Wheeling Circuit and 
Menominee Mission, and in 1847 appointed with A. 
Wooliscroft on Milford Circuit. On the 21st of De- 
cember, 1847, when on his way to an appointment 
his horse ran away, throwing him with violence 
from the buggy to the frozen ground. The skull 
was broken, and he expired thirty hours after. For 
a time he was rational and spoke in cheerful lan- 
guage of his prospects. "Tell my brethren if I 
should die," he said, "that Christ is precious; he is 
all in all ; all is well ; my way is clear." As a 
preacher he was plain, practical, and useful. As a 
Christian he professed the blessing of perfect love. 
In 1849 David Fellows, a quiet, useful, member 
of the conference, died. He was also on the Mil- 
ford Circuit when he departed. 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 347 



IN 1850 the preachers from Hancock County to 
Waukegan rallied to Plainfield to conference. 
They came on horseback and in buggy ; for as yet 
there were no public conveyances to that quiet vil- 
lage. The town was small, and the preachers were 
compelled to board around for two miles in the 
country. On Thursday evening one of the most 
eloquent sermons ever preached before the confer- 
ence was listened to by admiring hearers. The text 
was: "Who is this that cometh from Edom, with 
dyed garments from Bozrah ?" Theme : Parallel 
between literal and spiritual Edom. Both were 
supplied with arms, means, etc. The preacher pro- 
ceeded very coolly and elaborately to lay down 
statement after statement until the personage was 
to appear. Bozrah was an Edomite stronghold. 
Christ was in this Bozrah, the grave, the stronghold 
of the kingdom of death. None of us saw the drift 
of the sermon. We were intently listening to the 
eloquent strains that flowed in soft cadences from 
the stranger. All at once the preacher broke away 
from cool restraint, and in a few grand flashes 
brought out the conquering Savior with " dyed gar- 
ments" from the Bozrah of death, triumphant, on 


his way to the skies, thus foiling the great enemy, 
and bringing life and immortality to man. The 
whole was the result of a minute, and was finished 
in two sentences. The preachers were beside them- 
selves. Tears, shouts, joy, bore the crowd away, 
and the preacher was obliged to rise above the tu- 
mult to make himself heard. This was J. W. 
Flowers's introduction to the conference. He was 
just from the Pittsburg Conference. 

Bishop Hamline presided. It was his second 
visit, he having presided at Galena in 1846. We 
who had never seen him, and had heard of his se- 
dateness, saw enough of it here. He appeared like 
a very good man ; but being troubled with heart 
disease, and in immediate view of death, he strove 
to bring the whole conference to the doleful tone 
of the tomb. There is no doubt a lack of a proper 
devotional spirit at all our conferences. But be 
it known as a palliation, that it is the only hol- 
iday the preacher enjoys for a year. At all other 
times the cares of his work are upon him. At con- 
ference he relaxes himself, lays aside his warrior 
weapons, and talks with his brethren in a social 
way, enjoying, as a man of no other class can, the 
society of his fellow-laborers. But the good bish- 
op's stringency made many shy of that holiness of 
which he made great profession. It was always his 
habit, whenever any thing pleasant occurred in 
company or conference, causing a laugh, to call the 
company or conference to prayer, requesting the 
person to pray who was laughing the heartiest. 
Several times at the Plainfield conference, whenever 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 349 

the members waxed a little merry, the bishop would 
call us to our knees to engage in prayer. At a 
session of the Illinois Conference Peter Cartwright 
at one time indulged in pleasantry, and the bishop 
asked, " Brother Cartwright, do you think you are 
growing in grace ?" " Yes, in spots !" was the rather 
uncouth reply. 

The conference love-feast is always one of the 
greatest treats of the year, and in the days of closed 
doors there were always preachers enough to fill the 
room at the Sunday morning meeting, so that the 
doors have never been closed since our recollection. 
At Plainfield the hour arrived for love-feast, and 
the house was crowded with preachers and mem- 
bers, blessed in anticipation of what was to come. 
The bishop came in, and as he arose to open the 
meeting, he asked if the rules had been observed 
and the doors kept closed. Being told the state of 
the case, he remarked, " I can not relate my expe- 
rience before a promiscuous audience ; we will have 
a prayer-meeting." The order was given to unite 
in prayer, and some brother was called upon to 
lead, and the hour was passed in the dryest prayer- 
meeting many of us ever attended. It is said the 
good bishop grew cheerfuller in his temperament as 
he grew older. 

It was at this conference that a crowd gathered 
at the Plainfield cemetery to unite in the exercises 
of reinterring the bones of Jesse Walker, which 
were removed from an obscure place to this spot, so 
near the home of his latter days. It was worth 
something to see even the bones of the first Meth- 


odist preacher who entered the bounds of this now 
famous conference. 

There were now 8,270 members in the Church. 
The following list of appointments will give some 
idea of the extent and form of the work : 

Chicago District : A. L. Risley, P. E. — Clark 
Street, S. P. Keyes; Canal Street, Wm. Palmer; 
Indiana Street, Boyd Lowe; City Mission, supplied- 
Union Ridge, G. W. Murphy ; Wheeling, S. A. W. 
Jewett; Waukegan, R. Beatty ; Liberty ville, F. A. 
Reed, "William Kegan ; Elgin, S. Bolles ; Dundee, 
H. S. Trumbull ; Naperville, J. C. Stoughton, J. 
Kirk; Flagg Creek, J. Grundy; Blue Island, H. 
P. M. Brown. 

Ottawa District : 0. A. Walker, P. E. — Ot- 
tawa, N. P. Heath ; Newark, J. W. Flowers ; Plain- 
field, S. Stover ; Joliet, J. P. Vance ; Lockport, 
S. F. Denning ; Kankakee Mission, S. P. Burr ; . . . 
Wilmington, O. W. Munger; . . . Peru, R. A. 

Rock Island District : J. Sinclair, P. E. — 
. . . Princeton, J. H. D. More ; Troy Grove, G. C. 
Holmes ; Prophetstown, L. Whipple ; Union Grove, 
M. Hanna. 

Mt. Morris District : Richard Haney, P. E. — 
Mt. Morris, N. Jewett; Rockford, W. P. Jones; Ros- 
coe, J. W. Agard ; Sugar River, supplied ; Freeport 
Mission, J. F. Devore ; Cedar Creek, C. Bingham ; 
Millville, W. R. Irvine; Galena, A. E. Phelps; 
Wapella, C. Lazenby ; Elizabeth, George Lovesee ; 
Mt. Carroll, J. Luccock ; Buffalo Grove, M. L. 
Averill ; H. Crews, agent Rock River Seminary. 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 351 

Belvidere District: L. Hitchcock, P. E. — 
Belvidere, W. Wilmot; Cherry Valley, R. K. Bib- 
bins; Sycamore, M. Decker; Light-house Point, 
A. M. Early; Dixon, T. North; Lee Center, E. 
Brown ; Little Rock, Amos Wiley ; St. Charles, Z. 
Hall, S. Guyer, J. Baume ; Pawpaw, Wm. Foughts; 
M«Henry, C. W. Batcheller; Crystal Lake, S. H. 
Stocking, J. Hodges ; Chemung, L. S. "Walker, 
J. B. Dodge ; C. C. Olds, transferred to Michigan 

Among the new men received at this conference 
were S. A. W. Jewett, James Baume, Jehu W. 
Stogdill, Henderson Richey, John P. Brooks, Wil- 
bur McKaig, William R. Irvine, William Kegan, 
George W. Murphy, John L. Jenkins, and Silas 
Searle, — perhaps a class of the most noted men ever 
received in one year. J. W. Flowers and John 
Luccock came by transfer. 

By reviewing the appointments of 1850, it will 
be seen that but fifteen of those who received ap- 
pointments in 1840 were yet, after ten years, receiv- 
ing work in the conference. These were H. Crews, 
S. P. Keyes, S. Bolles, O. A. Walker, R. A. Blan- 
chard, M. Bourne, B. H. Cartwright, J. L. Kirk- 
patrick, J. Sinclair, William Gaddis, N. Jewett, A. 
M. Early, S. H. Stocking, J. Hodges, and L. S. 

Let us for a season return to some of those old 
and honorable charges whose history we have left 

We left F. T. Mitchell at Galena in 1844. He 
reported two hundred and fifty members in 1845, 


and was succeeded by F. A. Savage, who had joined 
the conference in 1844, and had been stationed at 
Milwaukee. He was discontinued in 1846, and 
Philo Judson appointed to Galena. During this 
year a new and more stylish front was put on the 
old church. In 1847 E. A. Blanchard was ap- 
pointed to the work. In two months after his ar- 
rival a revival commenced, which continued all 
through the year. There were conversions and ac- 
cessions nearly every week. At their request he 
formed four official members into a " band," accord- 
ing to the Discipline previous to 1852, and it was 
not long before they enjoyed the blessing of perfect 
love. Then he was requested to organize another 
band. The same results followed. In this way he 
organized five bands, all of which proved a blessing 
to those who united in them. The holy influence 
spread more and more through the Church. Once 
in four weeks he met all the bands together, and 
meetings of great power were held. Nearly all the 
members of the official board enjoyed the fullness 
of the blessing of the Gospel of peace. A. E. 
Phelps was the preacher in 1849. During his ad- 
ministration a large number were received into the 
Church. In 1851 Matthew Sorin, an able and elo- 
quent superannuated preacher from the Philadelphia 
Conference, was sent as a supply to the charge. 

The quarterly conference of February 15, 1856, 
voted to proceed to build a new church. A building 
committee was appointed, and the church was ded- 
icated the next January. At that time T. M. Eddy, 
who had just entered the Advocate office as editor, 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 353 

and Bishop Ames set out from Chicago to dedicate 
the Galena church. Arriving at Freeport they 
found that, between that place and Dunleith, two or 
three locomotives were fast in the snow. About six 
o'clock in the evening. a train proposed to leave, 
and the Chicago travelers were joined by Luke 
Hitchcock and M. L. Reed. They hurried into the 
cars, and sat till nine at night, then set out. More 
than once on the route the steam gave out, and the 
cars stopped to catch breath. At half-past one they 
reached the Galena depot, and, not finding a bridge, 
they wended their way by guess over Fever River 
to a hotel, freezing with the cold. The mercury 
was thirty-two degrees below zero. The services 
came on. They found there a church forty-seven 
by eighty-one feet, with a tower one hundred and 
fifty feet high and a good basement. There was a 
full house at half-past ten A. M. Bishop Ames 
preached, and Luke Hitchcock presented a state- 
ment of the cost, which was sixteen thousand dol- 
lars. They needed three thousand two hundred 
dollars to make up deficiencies; there was a re- 
sponse of two thousand seven hundred dollars. Mr. 
Hitchcock preached to the children in the after- 
noon, Dr. Eddy preached in the evening, and M. L. 
Reed called for the balance of the needful. But, 
somehow, these great subscriptions fail to wind up 
matters. There is generally great leakage some- 
where. It was so at Galena ; for J. F. Yates, the 
efficient pastor of 1864, found debts of eight thou- 
sand dollars, which he succeeded in paying. The 
church was dedicated January 17, 1857. They have 



since had revivals and some prosperity. There was 
a fine ingathering under J. H. Vincent in 1861. 

In 1845 C. D. Cahoon was appointed to Rock- 
ford. He preached there but once, and died and 
lies buried near Rockford. John Luccock, just 
from the Pittsburg Conference, was supplied to the 
charge. During the year Mr. Luccock started a 
subscription for a church, which was erected at a 
cost of seven thousand dollars, and dedicated the 
3d of June, 1848, a year before the conference of 
1849. This was the building still occupied by the 
First Church till 1883. When once a Church gets 
into its house of worship, its history is uneventful. 
That Church has prospered ever since, as the three 
colonies give witness. It has been blessed with the 
best pastors the conference has afforded, and re- 
vivals have from time to time been the order. In 
1864 there were two hundred and forty members; a 
church worth ten thousand dollars ; parsonage worth 
twenty-eight hundred dollars. There was a report 
of two hundred and seventy -one dollars for the mis- 
sion cause, and a Sunday-school with one hundred 
and ninety scholars. 

Joliet began the year 1845 with as many as three 
hundred members, with O. A. Walker and R. E. 
Thomas as preachers. The circuit included Lock- 
port and the Hickory Creek and Chelsea country. 
In 1849, when S. F. Denning was on the work, the 
appointments were : At Joliet, once in two weeks; 
Yankee Settlement, Lockport, Chelsea, Hickory 
Creek, South Chelsea, Dryer's Class, and Ward's 
School-house, four miles south of Joliet. In 1850 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 355 

Joliet became a station, with an appropriation of 
one hundred dollars from the Missionary Society. 
Through the influence of M. L. Reed the old church 
was sold in 1853, and a new one erected, which was 
dedicated in the Spring of 1854 by John Clark and 
J. E. Wilson. This house, with the parsonage, we 
believe, was burned down in 1858, and another built 
on the same ground in 1859. In May, 1857, when 
the pastor, Wm. Goodfellow, went to South Amer- 
ica, J. H. Vincent, the effective Sunday-school 
worker, was transferred from the New Jersey Con- 
ference, and stationed at Joliet. 

The new circuits constituted at the conference at 
Plainfield in 1850 were mostly missions on the out- 
skirts of old and permanent circuits — little twiglets, 
ambitious young appointments struggling into life 
and recognition. There was Flagg Creek, which 
became Downer's Grove, Cedar Creek (Cedar- 
ville), Troy Grove, and Cherry Valley. 

Cedarvil,i,e is a village six miles north of Free- 
port, settled by Pennsylvania Germans. The ap- 
pointments in 1856 were at Cedarville, Orangeville 
Mt. Pleasant, and Dacotah. In 1852 they had been 
at Cedarville, Wadams Grove, English Settlement, 
Yankee Settlement, Winslow, Big Woods, and New 
Pennsylvania. There is a good Methodist church 
at Cedarville, built between 1850 and 1856. In 
1851 there were four hundred and sixty members. 

Troy Grove was set off from the Peru charge 
in 1850. There were one or two appointments 
around the grove in 1842, when it was on Princeton 
Circuit. S. R. Beggs preached there in 1834 when 


on the Bureau Circuit. An appointment was first 
established by Zadoc Hall in 1833, when he organ- 
ized the first class there. The preaching was at 
John Johnson's^ on the east side of the grove. The 
little band of 1833 were John Johnson and wife, 
Hiram Barnhart, and a Sister Wicksom. There 
has probably been a class and an appointment there 
ever since. The circuit has had its ups and downs, 
disappearing altogether in 1854 to reappear again 
in 1860. The appointments in 1865 were at Tri- 
umph, Prairie Center, Waltham, and Hebron. 
There is a pretty frame church at Triumph erected 
under the supervision of Wm. M. Foreman, and 
dedicated in 1864. 

Cherry Valley appeared in 1850. There 
were but two appointments in 1856. These were at 
Cherry Valley and New Milford. A church thirty- 
six by fifty feet was completed, under direction of 
George Lovesee in 1856, and dedicated by Sias 
Bolles, who at that time was the great church ded- 
icator of the conference. At the present time the 
society is feeble, as it ever has been, and owes its 
feebleness to union with others, and a want of in- 
dependence. The circuit embraces the neighbor- 
hoods on the prairie for four or five miles around. 
When the circuit was first organized in 1850 there 
were appointments at the Red School-house, two 
miles north of Cherry Valley; at Shattuck's Grove; 
Blood's Point; Gravel School-house, south of Cherry 
Valley; New Milford; Metier School-house; and 
at Pennsylvania Settlement. 

The conference met in Peoria for the second 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 357 

time in 1851. The preachers were cared for by 
John Chandler, the presiding elder, and C. C. Best, 
the preacher-in-charge, who had arrived about a 
month before from the Pittsburg Conference to fill 
the place of J. C. Parks, who had basely fallen. 
Bishop Waugh presided over the doings of the ses- 
sion. He had been at Mt. Morris in 1840, at Chi- 
cago in 1847, and now he came for the last time to 
look upon the enterprising band he organized in 
1840. Eleven years were past, and but fourteen of 
the seventy-five of 1840 received appointments in 
1851. On account of the fall of J. C. Parks the 
preachers were held in disrepute. So does a body 
suffer when one of its members degrades himself. 
There used to be more begging permitted at con- 
ference than now. The roll used to be called and 
the preachers would march up to the altar and pay 
their missionary poll tax, and at Plainfield they 
gave their individual obligations for $4,000 for the 
Rock River Seminary, which, by the way, we be- 
lieve, was never half paid. At Peoria J. J. Hed- 
strom, the Swede missionary and member of the 
conference, came before the body with a tale of 
Blanchard-Galesburg persecution and proselytism, 
and by a simple recital brought tears from the eyes 
of all, and four hundred dollars from the preachers' 
pockets. Delegates were elected to General Confer- 
ence. Richard Haney, A. E. Phelps, Luke Hitch- 
cock, S. P. Keyes, and John Chandler were elected. 
S. P. Keyes was the first delegate from the confer- 
ence who had never been presiding elder; J. C. 
Stoughton was the second. There was one of the 


closest contests between the friends of Hooper 
Crews and John Chandler that one often sees. The 
tellers retired to count votes a dozen times ere John 
Chandler could obtain a majority. And it is no 
harm to say that the officiousness of certain friends 
on either side caused the voters to remain by their 
man so long. A man has more need to fear syco- 
phants than enemies. There was another contest 
just like it over John Morey and John Dempster 
in 1855. The conference was to be divided in May, 
and the struggle was to decide which conference 
should have the remaining delegate. The friends 
of Morey succeeded. But this is anticipating. 

The class received at Peoria were A. L. Adams, 
who died in 1859; Charles French, a quiet 
English brother, who has since then rendered ef- 
fective and faithful service; Martin P. Sweet, 
who located in 1854, and returned to his former 
home at Freeport to run off into a transcendental 
spiritual free-loveism, and who died in 1863; Henry 
Whipple, who was raised near Roscoe, and is 
a brother of Josiah W. Whipple, who went to Texas 
in 1841 — educated at Mt. Morris, where he first 
went in 1841, he has been one of our most popular 
men ; he began on one of the poorest circuits and 
went to a four years' service in Chicago — C F. 
Wright, a quiet, mild-tempered preacher of mod- 
erate talents, who, passing through much affliction, 
was never fully appreciated by his conference, and 
who went to the Minnesota Conference in 1864; 
and Elijah Ransom, a brother-in-law to Wm. R. 
Irvine, a Mt. Morris student, and the largest man 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 359 

in the conference when in it. He went with the 
Central Illinois Conference when the conference 
was divided in 1856, and was in 1864 chaplain ot 
a regiment. It is not often that appointments are 
made in joke, but now and then a harmless one 
occurs. David Strawn, one of the Illinois cattle 
dealers living south of Ottawa on the Ottawa Cir- 
cuit, and the leading man of the charge, complained 
that the conference had always sent men of puny 
body and feeble health to the circuit, and wanted 
to know if there were no able-bodied men. The 
elder sent in 1854 Elijah Ransom, who was six feet 
high, and the heaviest man in conference, and J. H. 
Denman, who was six feet six in his boots. What 
Strawn thought of these Anakim we have never 
heard. He could not have picked better men for 
any circuit. 

Among the transfers was C. C. Best, a short, 
stoutly built, Pennsylvania German, and a Pitts- 
burgian preacher, loud, stormy, zealous, thoughtful, 
who was admitted to the Baltimore Conference in 
1834, and who came to Illinois in May, 1851, to fill 
the vacancy at Peoria, and who has since filled 
honorable positions in the Rock River Conference, 
being presiding elder five or six years, and an effi- 
cient general worker. In 1863 he closed up thirty 
years of uninterrupted labor. "William Gaddis had 
died and J. C. Parks had been expelled. The new 
charges were State Street, Chicago ; Dover, Hanover, 
Chicken Grove, Geneva, and Aurora. 

During the preceding year, through the liberality 
of Orrington Lunt, a lot was procured on the cor- 


ner of State and Harrison Streets, one block west 
of the present Wabash Avenue Church, and seven 
blocks, or about three quarters of a mile, south of 
Clark Street Church. A building forty by sixty 
feet, formerly owned by the Second Presbyterian 
Church, the same in which Dr. R. W. Patterson 
began his ministry in 1841 on Randolph Street, was 
purchased and moved to the lot on State Street, 
and fitted up in a neat and convenient manner, and 
a Sunday-school organized. At this conference 
(1851) N. P. Heath was appointed to the new and 
rising charge. He entered with zeal upon his work 
and a substantial society was at once organized, 
which proceeded to perform the regular work of a 
Church of Christ. The pastors afterwards were, in 
1854-55, F. A. Reed, and in 1855-56, W. B. Slaugh- 
ter. Many of the wealthiest members of old Clark 
Street Church had united at State Street, among 
whom were O. Lunt, G. C. Cook, and J. V. Far- 
well, and in the Spring of 1857, as times were pros- 
perous the society resolved to build a more com- 
modious edifice. But as their undertaking was to 
be a stupendous one they must have a man with 
whom there could be no risks. They sought and 
obtained William M. D. Ryan, from the Baltimore 
Conference, who built the Clark Street Church in 
1845. They gave their pastor a vacation until con- 
ference, and set Mr. Ryan at work. Procuring a 
lot across the block from where their small church 
stood, fronting east on Wabash Avenue on the cor- 
ner of the Avenue and Harrison Street, they un- 
dertook to build a sixty thousand dollar church. 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 361 

The corner-stone was laid July 13, 1857. The 
building as finished was seventy-five by ninety-five 
feet, built of stone, in Gothic style, with stained 
windows, large organ, and a basement where there 
was every convenience, even to a kitchen range 
with table fixtures for festal purposes. There is 
below the most richly painted and lettered Sunday- 
school room in America. There is also a three- 
story parsonage in the rear. This gorgeous temple 
of God was dedicated by Dr. Eddy, December 13, 
1857. The church was finished, but the "crash" 
of November, 1857, which found so many of our 
church building schemes unprepared for the event, 
paralyzed the energies of the members and left the 
trustees twenty thousand dollars in debt. To save 
the church, for a year or two the trustees applied 
the pew rent on the debt-interest, paying the pas- 
tor's salary out of their own pockets. 

Mr. Ryan was returned in 1858. In March he 
gave place to William Krebs, another Baltimore 
man, and he in March, 1860, gave place to Dr. H. 
Cox, who remained until 1862, when he was called 
to a church organizing scheme in St. Louis, and R. 
L. Collier called from Dubuque, Iowa, to fill his 
place. In 1864, through the tact of Brother Col- 
lier, the church debt was cleared off, and when the 
conference of 1864 convened there the preachers 
were greeted by a hearty, cheerful people. Since 
Wabash Avenue Church has taken first rank as 
contributor of missionary money it may not be 
amiss to report its doings. We have no report at 
hand until 1853, when the amount reported was 



$15; in 1854 it was $70; in 1855, $45; in 1856, 
$50; 1857, $100; 1858, $28; 1859, $55; 1860, $60; 

1861, $368; 1862, $1,074; 1863, $2,700; 1864, 
$2,500 ; Total, $7,065. The largest contributor of 
the time is the Clark Street Church. The contri- 
butions of this Church were in 1853, $675; 1854, 
$660; 1855, $1,000; 1856, $1,000; 1857, $1,000; 
1858, $500; 1859, $450; 1860, $225; 1861, $520; 

1862, $500; 1863, $900; 1864, $909; Total, $8,339. 
And be it remembered both societies have built 
new churches in the time. Clark Street in the 
early day received perhaps five hundred dollars as 
help from the Missionary Society. She has long 
since repaid that, as every other charge worthy of 
help will. These two Churches named above own 
more church property than any other societies in 
the conference. Clark Street Church claims $170,- 
000 worth, Wabash Avenue, $100,000 worth, and 
Wabash has more members (1864) than any other 
Church in the conference save alone Aurora; Wa- 
bash having two hundred and eighty-six, and Au- 
rora three hundred and thirty. 

The St. Charles Circuit in 1850 received three 
preachers, and included the appointments each side 
Fox River to Aurora. In 1851 three circuits were 
formed from the one. Geneva took Batavia and 
Footville, Aurora took Big Woods and Blackberry. 
Elihu Springer, when on the Des Plaines Circuit, 
preached at Aurora and Batavia in 1836. William 
Royal preached at Aurora in 1835, the same year 
the town was laid out by Samuel McCarty. In 
1836 a grist mill was erected; the same year two 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 363 

school-houses were built, one on each side of the 
river. There was quite a village in 1837. W. 
Wilcox formed the first class in the Fall of that 
year. The first sermon he preached there was some 
time in the Spring of 1837, being delivered in the 
house of Samuel McCarty. Afterwards he preached 
in a small school-house. S. McCarty and his sister, 
with a few others, formed the first class. The 
church was built in 1843. The building was en- 
larged twenty feet in 1852, and as much more in 
the year 1864. William Wilmot was appointed to 
the work in 1851, and J. W. Agard in 1852. This 
Fall the old church was raised up and enlarged, and 
a good stone basement put underneath. The build- 
ing was now thirty-four by seventy, and was re- 
opened February 27, 1853, the services being con- 
ducted by John Clark and James E. Wilson. The 
cost of enlarging was two thousand eight hundred 
dollars. During the time of rebuilding the meet- 
ings were held in the Congregational Church. Many 
thought they were getting too large a house, but at 
once many retired for want of room. The third 
evening after the dedication the altar would not 
hold one half the penitents that offered themselves 
for prayer. So does God bless with his benediction 
the efforts, of his people. Fifty or sixty were con- 
verted within twenty-five days. The Church passed 
through stormy times during the days of the Naza- 
rite Secession, and in 1862 lost by this'means some 
who had been efficient members. In 1864 twenty- 
four more feet were added to the church, at a cost 
of eighteen hundred dollars, and the house was re- 


opened December 18, 1864, by two most able ser- 
mons delivered by Dr. Raymond. The church was 
now thirty-four feet wide and ninety-four feet long, 
a strange looking affair for a city like Aurora, which 
was as large as Rockford, where there were four 
fine Methodist churches. 

We find the society at Aurora in 1872 still wor- 
shiping in this church, which was sometimes face- 
tiously called the Church people's " long home." 
The shifts that were made to make the early small 
churches do for awhile were often curious. The 
Clark Street Church, Chicago, was twice enlarged, 
so that the original building, built over on the North 
Side, formed one-quarter ot the old frame of 1845. 
The walls were high enough for the small building ; 
but when enlarged to about fifty-two by seventy-six 
feet, the walls were so low in proportion, the old 
church, when dimly lighted by the old lard-oil 
lamps, looked like a gloomy cave. At Elgin Sias 
Bolles had an L run out to the right of the pulpit, 
so that one-half the congregation, while able to see 
the preacher, could not see the other half. 

But at length a time came when Aurora Meth- 
odism arose out of that " long home," and erected 
the present beautiful stone edifice. This was fin- 
ished under the pastorate of that superb man, S. A. 
W. Jewett. The house was dedicated by Bishop 
W. L. Harris, December 27, 1873 (?) ; text, Isaiah 
xi, 9. The bishop preached in the morning and Dr. 
C. H. Fowler in the evening. The whole cost had 
been provided for, so that no begging was done on 
dedication day. This church is seventy-eight by 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 365 

one hundred and eight, with spire one hundred and 
sixty-five feet high, and cost fifty thousand dollars. 
Six thousand five hundred dollars was given by 
Miss Jenny Davis, a daughter of Samuel Davis, 
who gave two hundred barrels of lime as his share 
toward the erection of the Chicago Clark Street 
Church in 1845. Wyatt Carr, the oldest Aurora 
member, aged eighty-nine, gave six thousand dol- 
lars. A second charge, with G. G. Lyon as pastor, 
was organized in 1858 on the West Side, which re- 
ported sixty members and a Sunday-school with 
one hundred and forty scholars in 1859. A cheap 
affair was put up for a church, and the little society 
seemed to prosper. Mr. Lyon was returned in 1859, 
and again in 1860 by some hocus-pocus, and was 
succeeded by W. P. and John A. Grey, father and 
son, in 1861. All went on well until the confer- 
ence of 1862, when the society was disbanded and 
all united again in the old church. The effort was 
again tried in 1868, and in 1870 the Galena Street 
Church was built. 

Another work which appeared this year was 
called Chicken Grove Circuit, after a beautiful 
oasis on the prairie ten miles west of Elgin. The 
south end of the grove has been a rallying point 
for Methodism ever since 1837. A class was organ- 
ized there in that year by Stephen Arnold, the 
preacher on the Sycamore Circuit, consisting of four 
members. They were Elias Crary, wife, and daugh- 
ter, and William Kendall, which before its division 
in 1840 numbered eighty-two members. Mr. Crary's 
log house was known far and wide as a preaching 


place, and as the home of Methodist preachers. At 
the first quarterly-meeting held there, probably in 
1839, they took up part of the chamber floor and 
made a gallery sufficient to hold thirty or forty per- 
sons, and frequently when two-days' meetings were 
held the floor would be lined with sleepers, each one 
claiming a board as his share, while the people from 
a distance stayed all night. J. W. Whipple's first 
sermon was preached in this house. 

In 1839 a class made up mostly of members 
from the Crary class was organized, and held its 
meetings at the log house of Solomon Ellis, two 
miles east of Chicken Grove. This was also a 
preaching place. In this house the writer first saw 
and heard a Methodist preacher. It was in 1839; 
the preacher was J. W. Whipple. Solomon Ellis 
was the leader of this class until 1841, when he was 
removed and Isaac Hale made leader in his place. 
There were great revivals all through those parts 
from 1839 to 1841. There was scarcely a family 
but most of its members made a profession of re- 
ligion, and at times the class became very large. 
In 1840 the appointment was moved to the Emick 
School-house, now Plato Center, three miles east of 
Chicken Grove. The preaching was held here for 
several years in an old log school-house, now used 
as a blacksmith shop, where we attended school in 
1842. On Stephen Archer's ground a camp-meet- 
ing was held in 1841, conducted by J. T. Mitchell, 
probably exceeding all Fox River camp-meetings 
in power. At the conclusion every person on the 
ground but two (George Tucker and A. D. Field) 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 367 

joined in the procession, shaking hands with each 
other in parting, singing as they marched, " I have 
a Father in the promised land," which was the 
favorite song of the meeting. 

After 1841 many troubles came over the Plato 
Methodist Society. Church difficulties, troubles 
about fences, and whisky were the bane of the 
Church. About 1843 a Free Will Baptist preacher 
(Father Jenkins) came near taking the country. 
Finally an appointment was established at North 
Plato, at Mr. Temple's, which was for many years 
the nucleus of Methodism in those parts. In 1848 
the appointment was -moved to the Red School- 
house near North Plato Church. The Baptists had 
a society there, which at one time made preparations 
for building a church, but their society dying out 
the Methodists built a church in 1859. The first 
sermon preached in the neighborhood t)f this church 
was in November, 1842, in Mr. Joseph Burdick's 
cooper shop by Isaac Searles. ' The shop stood a 
quarter of a mile north-west of the church. The 
occasion was this : In the Summer of 1842 three 
young men, Thomas Burnidge and Lorenzo Mitchell, 
Baptists, and Mann, a Congregationalist, who at- 
tended meeting in Elgin Sunday mornings, resolved 
to commence a prayer-meeting in their own neigh- 
borhood, five miles west of Elgin at four o'clock 
Sunday afternoon. They commenced these meetings 
in the new log house of Mr. Hall. It was busy 
August; religion was low, very low. There was no 
religious influence around nearer than Elgin, except 
the dwindling class at the Emick School-house. 


The meeting began and increased in interest. The 
people gathered for three miles around, and with- 
out any preacher there began to be conversions. 
A wicked sailor, Edward Burnidge, just from the 
ocean, of his own accord made a commencement 
towards a religious life. He was very zealous, tak- 
ing hold at once in the meetings. After a time 
they began to hold the meetings in different neigh- 
borhoods. At one of these, held in a house of 
poplar logs belonging to Mr. Mitchell, the present 
writer made a public profession of religion. A 
meeting was appointed in November, to be held in 
the cooper shop above mentioned. The day of the 
meeting Isaac Searles came along on a pastoral 
visiting tour, and putting up for the night was in- 
vited to preach. A good Baptist sister said he 
preached so well if she had not known better she 
should have taken him for a Baptist preacher. J. 
W. Whipple was the first Methodist preacher prob- 
ably who preached in the town of Plato. 

In 1851 all the eastern portion of the old Syc- 
amore Circuit was set off into what for fourteen 
years was the Chicken Grove Circuit. The ap- 
pointments have been at Canada Corners, Ohio 
Grove, Sawyer School-house, Burlington, North 
Plato, and Plato Center. There has been for sev- 
eral years a parsonage at Canada Corners. A neat 
little church was built in the Summer of 1859 at 
North Plato, which was dedicated by Dr. Eddy, 
December 7, 1859. The church cost one thousand 
and eighty-two dollars. The members of the class 
at the time were Freeman Temple (leader), Sabron 

CONFERENCES OF 1850 AND 1851. 369 

Temple, Polly Rowly, John Reser, William Wait, 
Reuben Tuck, Helen Tuck, Lewis Fletcher, James 
Peck, John Wheeler, Eliza Wheeler, Sarah Bennett, 
Pardon Tabor, Sarah Tabor, and E. M. Clark. J. 
B. Dodge was the first preacher. Since then the 
Nazarites have done much injury, but the circuit 
still exists. In 1864 it still reported its one church. 
When will there be one near the old Crary place 
to keep the cradle ground in memory? 



THE CONFERENCES OF 1852, 1853, AND 1854. 

THE Thirteenth Session of the Rock River Con- 
ference was held at St. Charles, commencing 
September 15, 1852. Bishop Ames, who had been 
elected bishop at the Boston General Conference in 
May, presided. While visiting the conference as 
missionary secretary in 1843 he had presided at the 
opening of the conference. He at once at St. 
Charles won golden opinions, but was the first 
bishop we had had who would in the course of 
business suggest plans to be taken. He had ceased 
to do this by the time he visited the conference in 
1858. His address to the class of deacons was only 
second to the addresses of Bishop Janes. Many a 
pithy saying does he get off in these simple yet 
sublime charges. He said at Waukegan, " If per- 
chance you get appointed to a place that does not 
please you, the ' great iron wheel ' that set you down 
will in a year take you up and roll you to a better 
place ; " and at St. Charles, " Methodist preachers 
can know that they will always have work; they 
are not like those ministers out of employ, who 
when asked why they are not at work for God have 
it to say, 'Alas, master, no man hath hired us;' " and, 
« \y e g to society with our wives and children as 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 371 

pledges that we will not betray those societies to 
w"hom we are sent." 

On Sunday morning the bishop preached what 
we have heard many call the greatest sermon they 
ever heard. The theme was the testimony concern- 
ing Jesus in Prophecy. His contrast between the 
"Lion of the tribe of Judah," and the "Lamb of 
God" was grand. Both characteristics meeting in 
Jesus showed the grandeur of his nature, and with 
the description the preacher carried the multitude 
away with a gust of weeping. Such men as Philo 
■Judson and Luke Hitchcock wept like children. 
We have never heard a sermon that equaled it in 
pathetic power. 

Among the new ministers received this year were 
Daniel W. Linn, a son of a Maine Methodist, 
raised at Lee Center, educated at Mt. Morris, and 
a man who preaches sermons akin to those of Dr. 
Dempster, obstructed by a rather tedious manner, 
and who on account of feeble health does not show 
half his power ; Henry L. Martin, born of Amer- 
ican parents in Canada, and raised from 1837 at 
Light House Point, also educated at Mt. Morris, 
kind, affable, and social in manner, and zealous in 
work, which he shows in his labors as conference 
missionary treasurer, he has just begun to develop 
the character there is about him ; and Samuel G. 
Havermale, like the last named, one of three 
brothers who are useful Methodist preachers, who 
came up from Canton to Rock River Seminary in 
1847, and who was one of the most finished preach- 
ers of the conference. 


John Clark came "West this year from Troy Con- 
ference, whither he went from Texas in 1844, and 
was appointed to Clark Street Church, in which 
appointment he was still serving when he died in 
1854. David Casseday entered the work again after 
a year or two of location, having traveled before 
in the bounds of the Illinois Conference. E. H. 
Gammon was readmitted from Maine, and was sta- 
tioned at St. Charles. He afterwards became pre- 
siding elder, and still lives to be useful. 

The new appointments constituted were Hickoey 
Ceeek, where there had been preaching from the 
earliest days, and which until 1850 had always been 
in the Joliet Circuit, and Channahon, which had 
previously been an appointment on the Wilmington 
Circuit. A fine church was built at Channahon in 
1854 under the supervision of that nervous man, 
Dr. A. L. Adams, who was on the charge that year. 
It was dedicated by J. W. Flowers, presiding elder 
of Joliet District, January 7, 1855. 

There were Lamoille, taken from the old Prince- 
ton Circuit, and Rydot, lying midway between 
Rockford and Freeport, on which circuit Pecatonica 
was one of the appointments ; and Kingston, 
another branch of the old Sycamore Circuit, it be- 
ing the western portion of that work, including 
Genoa and Lee's Mill. The class at Lee's Mill 
was one of the earliest formed on Sycamore Circuit. 
In 1861, under the supervision of C. M. Webster, 
"the irrepressible church builder," a church was 
built in this neighborhood, and dedicated on Sat- 
urday, the 22d of June, by Dr. Eddy, who left 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 373 

A. D. Field to preach in the afternoon and on Sun- 
day. Sunday morning there was one of the most 
precious love-feasts and sacramental occasions the 
writer ever engaged in. The text on Saturday 
afternoon was Nehemiah vi, 2, 3; on Sunday morn- 
ing 1 Timothy iii, 16. 

There was also Kaneville Circuit, named 
after a pleasant village eight miles north-west of 
Aurora. There was preaching in a log school- 
house in the Sheets neighborhood as early as 1843. 
The appointment was on Little Rock Circuit in 
1845, as was Kaneville afterwards. A grout church 
was built at Kaneville in 1849. The preaching 
and class was removed from the Sheets neighbor- 
hood to Kaneville in 1846. 

Marengo, one of our rising stations, first ap- 
peared on the list in 1852. William Royal, when 
on Fox River Mission, established an appointment 
at Pleasant Grove, about two miles south-west of 
Marengo in 1836. The appointment was the next 
two years on Sycamore Circuit, and in 1839 it went 
on to the Crystal Lake Charge, to remain until 
1852. The first sermon preached near the place 
was preached by a Presbyterian preacher in the 
house of C. Spencer, in March, 1836; the second 
was delivered the next day by Aratus Kent, from 
Galena, to the family of Mr. Spencer and three 
others. Orson P. Rogers was one of the three out- 
siders. The Methodist class was organized in June, 
1837, with Albert E. Smith, leader, Asenath Smith, 
Samuel Smith, Polly Smith, Eunice Cobb, Orson 
P. Rogers, and Mary Rogers as members. Chester 


Williams joined the meeting. The preaching in 
1836 was at the house of A. E. Smith two or three 
times, then was held at J. Rogers's. In 1838 and 
1839 the preaching was at O. P. Rogers's house, 
and Warren Blakesley was appointed leader. A 
Sunday-school was formed in 1839 with about 
twenty scholars, with Philander Ferry, who after- 
wards traveled the circuit, for superintendent. The 
third quarterly-meeting for Crystal Lake Circuit 
was held at Pleasant Grove, commencing March 6, 
1840, when the class reported $12.50 as quarterage 
raised for the preacher. The class paid during the 
year $27.37. In 1840 E. G. Wood was present 
from Pleasant Grove as leader. The appoint- 
ment was quite a prominent one, for there was 
a quarterly-meeting held there nearly every year. 
A Sunday-school was reported in June, 1841, with 
twenty-two scholars. At a quarterly-meeting held 
in Coral, November 20, 1847, a committee, consist- 
ing of E. G. Wood, Anson Rogers, and Amos 
Boyce, was appointed to "estimate the cost of 
building a meeting house at Pleasant Grove," but 
it is probable that they did not accomplish much. 
The first Methodist preaching in Marengo was at 
the house of Moses Spencer in 1839. In 1852 the 
old Crystal Lake Circuit was divided, and Marengo 
gave name to a new charge having appointments at 
Marengo, Cobb's School-house, Coral, Hampshire, 
East Prairie, Coon Creek, Shapley School-house 
(Harmony), and Huntley's Grove. The first quar- 
terly-meeting was held at Coral, December 14, 1852; 
present, L. Hitchcock, presiding elder; L. Ander- 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 375 

son, a supply, preacher in charge ; Samuel Richard- 
son, father of George and Holland W. ; A. Mc- 
Wright; L. C. Anderson; T. Bingham; P. M. 
Frisby ; and E. G. Wood, local preachers ; L. Mor- 
gan and O. P. Rogers, stewards ; O. Raymond, J. 
B. Lawshe, Samuel R. Morris, E. J. Rogers, J. W. 
Skinner, P. Stevens, and N. Norton, leaders. There 
were eleven local preachers in all on the work. 
Besides those named there were Robert Beatty, 
Brother Thomson, R. Williams, Isaac Vincent, and 
J. E. Dow. 

The second quarterly-meeting was at the Cobb 
School-house, February 12, 1853; the third was at 
Huntley's Station, April 30, 1853, and the fourth at 
East Prairie, near Robert Beatty's, August 13th. 
L. Anderson, who had been a member of the 
Oneida Conference, and who supplied the work this 
year, was recommended for readmission, and was re- 
turned to the work the next year. In 1854 A. B. 
Call, now a Universalist, was assistant preacher, and 
in 1855 W. D. Skelton was employed. Union ap- 
peared as an appointment on the circuit in 1856. 
At a quarterly-meeting held at Harmony Church 
in July, 1856, a vote was passed recommending the 
division of the work. Marengo took Coral, Union, 
and Burr Oak, six miles north of Marengo, and 
Marengo began that year its career as a half station, 
with J. P. Vance as preacher. The first quarterly- 
meeting was at Marengo, October 4, 1856. G. L. 
Stuff, presiding elder, J. P. Vance, pastor, A. Boyce, 
E. G. Wood, N. C. Gardiner, J. Clark, S. R. Mar- 
shall, M. L. Hart, A. C. Langworthy, G. W. Pullen, 


P. M. Frisby, and E. J. Rogers were present. John 
Lewis, Isaac Hicks, Anson Rogers, P. W. Deats, 
Alden Jewett, and O. P. Rogers were elected stew- 
ards. They allowed their preacher five hundred 
and fifty dollars. The first three quarterly-meet- 
ings were held at Marengo, the last one at a school- 
house in Union. Henry Knowles and David Barron 
appeared as leaders in 1858. The church was com- 
menced in 1856, and was dedicated March 27, 1855, 
by John Dempster. In 1858 the Marengo Society 
met with a great affliction, being compelled to bring 
their preacher, J. P. Vance, to trial for drinking 
beer to intoxication. 

At a quarterly-meeting held at Marengo, Janu- 
ary 8, 1859, nine dollars was reported from Mrs. 
Aurelia Coon's class. She was a regular leader, 
and the third quarterly -meeting she was reported 
as one of the members present at the conference. 
Dr. Redfield held a revival meeting at Marengo in 
1857, and this arrangement was a direct outgrowth 
of Nazarite influence. Mrs. Coon was the most 
prominent leader in the Church for a year or two, 
and in the end she led her class into wild ways that 
ended, as far as Church relation was concerned, in 
a Nazarite secession in 1861. In June, 1859, E. P. 
Hart was recommended to the Rock River Confer- 
ence, and was received in September as a member, 
at the very time he was holding a meeting with Dr. 
Redfield at Queen Ann. All the Nazarite forces 
were at work while the preachers were at confer- 
ence that year. E. P. Hart, at the close of the first 
year, went to the Free Methodists, and has since 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 377 

been one of the most prominent members of their 
conference. We have little more to say of Marengo 
except that the Church there has had general pros- 
perity, growing gradually into one of the most 
pleasant charges in the conference. Nearly all the 
old names, however, are found on the Free Metho- 
dist records. Instead of working away in the old 
Church, which the Lord still deigns to bless, they 
are (1865) striving to work an opposition move. 
Marengo in 1864 had about two hundred members, a 
church worth three thousand dollars, a parsonage 
worth one thousand dollars, and a Sunday-school 
with one hundred and seventy scholars. 

Big Foot appeared this year to remain perma- 
nently. It had been the year before included in 
Chemung Circuit, but was this year set off with 
Alden as a circuit. There had been as early as 
1844 a Big Foot Circuit, but in the division of the 
conference in 1848 the work became disintegrated. 
An appointment was established between Big Foot 
and Alden in 1839 by L. S. Walker. A church 
was built at Big Foot Corners probably in 1842, 
which remained an old uncouth thing until 1863. 
It was a curious affair that might have been sold 
to Barnum. 

In 1863 G. J. Bliss set about building a new 
church there, which when completed in the Fall of 
1863 was one of the most convenient churches in 
the conference. Within its walls gathered mem- 
bers of one of the best societies in the confer- 
ence. The society at Alden, which was very 

feeble, worshiped in school-houses until 1862. 



During the Winter of that year, under the lead of 
that devoted and zealous man, Dr. Reynolds, there 
was a revival there which resulted in the conversion 
of near a hundred souls. The society being thus 
increased they set about building a church. The 
frame was put up and partly inclosed when a storm 
laid it level with the ground. The trustees had 
been making every effort, and were now about to 
give up the scheme as a failure. But excursions 
were in fashion, and the Ninety-fifth Illinois Vol- 
unteers, in which were the friends of people living 
all along the railroad, was camped at Rockford, and 
Brother Reynolds, with the Alden people, set about 
getting up an excursion to the camp of the Ninety- 
fifth. The railroad played them some kind of a 
trick, and the train came on with box grain cars. 
The people took the matter as a joke, and piled in, 
filling eighteen cars. The proceeds were five hun- 
dred dollars, which enabled the trustees to go on 
and build. The church being completed was ded- 
icated by R. L. Collier, from Chicago, January 14, 
1863. Collier preached in the morning and dedi- 
cated the church, and the present writer followed 
with a sermon in the evening on Nehemiah's re- 
building the wall of Jerusalem. 

At the conference at St. Charles in 1852 we were 
permitted to behold a new and novel sight. It was 
the appearance of twenty German preachers, led by 
their two German presiding elders, John Plank, 
who had been the tavern-keeper, and had given 
name to Dutchman's Point, ten miles north of Chi- 
cago, and George L. Mulfinger, a dignified and 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 379 

learned German. They were in appearance like the 
early Methodist preachers, and their simplicity in 
our love-feasts and the aptness of their Dutch ex- 
perience set us Americans on fire. These new re- 
cruits were at once a rich element in our conference 

Among the friends of Asbury was Otterbein, 
who raised up a Church called United Brethren, 
which gathered in the Germans, as Asbury and his 
coadjutors gathered in the Americans. This Church 
after a time became almost entirely English. In 
the beginning of this century the Methodists had 
another opportunity to engage in the German work. 
A Pennsylvania German, Jacob Albrecht by name, 
was converted, and at once began to preach among 
his countrymen. He desired to form societies ex- 
clusively of Germans, but the authorities of the 
Church considered this inexpedient, thinking the 
German language would soon go out of use in this 
country. Not obtaining the desired liberty the 
zealous preacher became the founder of a separate 
organization, called "The Evangelical Association," 
or Albrights. This Church, like the United Breth- 
ren, finds that as their children learn English, the 
Church itself is fast becoming an American one. 

At length William Nast, a fellow student with 
the infidel Strauss in a German university, and 
himself, though a theological student, an infidel, 
came over to this country. Here he began to teach 
the German language and literature. After a time 
he became awakened to a sense of his lost condi- 
tion, and wandered in despair a year or two seeking 


rest but finding none. After a long wilderness 
journey he entered the Canaan of the people of 
God a happy child of the heavenly king. Soon his 
friends, among whom Adam Poe was most active, 
urged the Ohio Conference to appoint him as mis- 
sionary to the Germans of this country. He began 
his work in 1835, and was admitted to conference 
the same year, and in 1838 he reported twenty-two 
members from his Cincinnati Mission. The work 
went on without cessation until in 1864 there was 
an army of German Methodists. The reports which 
follow include merely the German societies in the 
United States, who with their conferences, and dis- 
tricts, and circuits carry on their work precisely as 
the American Methodists do. 

The mission in Cincinnati gradually spread until 
there were at first formed circuits, and then districts 
in all parts of the country, with German presiding 
elders. Previous to 1864 two or three of these 
districts were attached to a conference, in which the 
German preachers would act with all the privileges 
of the American preachers. The General Confer- 
ence of May, 1852, attached the Iowa and Wiscon- 
sin German Districts to the Rock River Conference, 
and in September of that year many of us made the 
acquaintance of these energetic men of God for the 
first time. These districts had for years before been 
attached to the Illinois Conference. There came 
into connection with us nineteen German circuits. 
Of these only North Chicago, where a church was 
commenced in 1848, South Chicago, Cook, and 
Wheeling were in our bounds. The first German 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 381 

appointment appeared in the bounds of the Rock 
River Conference in 1847. "Quincy District, L. S. 
Jacoby (our first missionary to Germany), P. E.; . . . 
Chicago, Philip Barth; Galena, Henry Nuelson." 
In 1849 Cook Mission appeared, and in 1851 
Wheeling appeared. In 1852 there were three 
hundred German members in our bounds, as fol- 
lows: Chicago, eighty-two; Cook, ninety; Wheel- 
ing, fifty; Galena, eighty. The Albrights built a 
church in Chicago in 1843. 

The German preachers continued to meet with 
the Rock River Conference until 1864 — twelve 
years of harmonious connection. At the General 
Conference of that year three German conferences 
were ordered, and all our German preachers left us 
to meet in their own Northwestern German Confer- 
ence. This body held its first session successfully 
at Galena in 1864. The German Churches of Chi- 
cago form an interesting feature of Methodism in 
the great city. In South Chicago they have been 
quite fortunate. In 1853 they raised by great ex- 
ertion means to buy property and build a church on 
Van Buren Street. The neighborhood was then a 
poor one, and property was cheap. In 1857 the 
Rock Island Railway established its depot there, 
purchasing at a large advance the German church 
property. This helped them out of debt, and gave 
them means to rebuild at their convenience. Hav- 
ing twenty or thirty German preachers in connec- 
tion, the conference always made it a point to send 
one German delegate to General Conference. G. 
L. Mulfinger was chosen the three times delegates 


were elected. The preachers speaking broken 
English never took an active part in the conference, 
but there were some active men among them. John 
Plank, G. L. Mulfinger, and Frederick Schuler will 
be long remembered by their English brethren. 

The conference in 1853 assembled again at Chi- 
cago. It was the third time the body had met there. 
Bishop Scott presided. The sessions were held in 
the basement of the brick church William M. D. 
Ryan built in 1845, and we were cared for by John 
Clark, who was now filling the charge. The ses- 
sion was the longest we had had for years, the con- 
ference not adjourning until late Wednesday evening. 
It was due in part to the rather slow way in which 
the business was conducted, and partly to the fact 
that there were many " distinguished " guests pres- 
ent who claimed the privilege of addressing the 
conference. The time occupied by such addresses 
amounted to more than one whole session. We had 
an address from J. V. Watson, concerning the 
Northwestern, from Dr. D. W. Clark concerning the 
Repository, from Joseph Holdich concerning the 
Bible Society, from Dr. Henry Slicer concerning 
that scheme, the Metropolitan Church at Washing- 
ton, and an address from Abel Stevens concerning 
his grand Tract Cause scheme, and we had nearly 
said, from the " Country Parson," " concerning bores." 
The address of Stevens was worth going miles to 
hear. Just then, by cheap publications, Stevens and 
kindred spirits were to work a revolution in our 
book publishing interests. A tract agent was to be 
appointed in each conference to set colporteurs at 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 383 

work, and a grand scheme of book circulation was 
to be introduced. Abel Stevens in some measure 
was author of the scheme and secretary of the 
Tract Society. He went through the country in 
1852 and 1853, visiting the conferences, like a flame 
of light, electrifying the people. He made speeches 
that won a national fame. One of these he gave 
the conference at Chicago. It was a mixture of 
eloquence, poetry, pith, fire. There was a tract 
meeting in the evening. J. V. Watson opened the 
way in a short speech. Dr. Stevens followed, but 
the ringing of fire bells put him out of time, and 
this, which was to be his great speech, was rather a 
failure ; it was a fine affair, however. Abel Stevens 
was a small man, standing on spindle legs, with 
slender body which bore up a massive Websterian 
head, from which sparkled dark lustrous eyes. He 
carried the great orator's "action" a little too far. 
Mr. Ryan exerted himself bodily, and pounded the 
Bible lustily, but Dr. Stevens sprung about the 
platform with actual leaps. He was the very em- 
bodiment of energy. Dr. D. W. Clark (bishop 
after) preached on Sunday a very chaste sermon on 
the Shadows of Death. The minutes — a mere ab- 
stract — of this conference were published, being the 
first publication of the kind ordered by the confer- 
ence. Ever since the published register has been 
growing neater and fuller. The copy for 1885 is 
almost perfect, being a volume of pamphlet form of 
sixty pages. The first contained twenty small pages. 
The conference in 1853 had just the same number 
of members it had in 1864, after the detaching of 


the Central Illinois and the German Conference. 
John T. Mitchell was at the Chicago Conference on 
a visit, John Clark was the Clark Street pastor who 
cared for the conference. It was the last time 
either of these early preachers and presiding elders 
of the conference ever beheld the old body in ses- 
sion. John Clark went to the land of the departed 
ere the conference met again, and John T. Mitchell 
never revisited the body. Few of the persons re- 
ceived on trial at the conference of 1853 have ever 
taken any very active part in labors in the bounds 
of the Rock River Conference. Among those who 
have labored here were Thomas Cochran, who, 
faithful to his work, has had considerable success in 
the ministry, enjoying many good revivals ; Robert 
Wright and Jacob Hartman, an efficient Sun- 
day-school man, and one whose highest point on 
the scale of usefulness is not yet reached — the tasty 
secretary of Sunday-school matters in the conference ; 
Lewis Anderson, who had traveled many years in 
the Oneida Conference was readmitted. He was 
for years one of the most faithful laborers in the 
conference, setting the Churches in order. A. E. 
Phelps and Absalom Wooliscroft had died. 

The new appointments that appeared this year 
were Owen Street, Chicago, since changed to 
West Indiana Street, and then to Ada Street. The 
society was a colony from Jefferson Street Church. 
Ceintonville, where for a year or two the Meth- 
odists strove to establish a society, but which finally 
the Free Methodists took, it being the only place 
where they established a society by members taken 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 385 

by conversion from the world, and Crane Grove, 
whose appointments in 1859 passed into the For- 
reston Circuit. 

F. A. Reed was at Rockford in 1851, and during 
his first year two lots were procured on the West 
Side for church purposes, and afterwards exchanged 
for the lots where Court Street Church now 
stands. A board of trustees was elected, who pro- 
ceeded to raise a subscription for building a church. 
At the last quarterly-meeting of the year ending in 
1853 a society was organized, who asked for a 
•preacher. L. Chatfield, just from Michigan, was 
sent to the infant Church. He commenced preach- 
ing in a hall on State Street, but before the year 
was over he resigned his pastorate and returned to 
Michigan. William Tasker, the East Side preacher, 
took charge of the society. In 1854 W. F. Stewart, 
that ardent worker, beloved by all, was appointed 
to the charge, for though the members were cast 
down they were not destroyed. On going to his 
work Mr. Stewart found a church costing seven 
thousand dollars nearly completed, which was ded- 
icated by Hooper Crews October 26, 1854. The 
text was, Exodus xx, 24: "In all places where I 
record my name, I will come unto thee and I will 
bless thee." The discourse was in Brother Crews's 
own peculiarly dignified, impressive, devotional 
style. Sias Bolles exhorted, and in a few minutes 
raised in cash and subscriptions the seven hundred 
dollars needed to meet indebtedness. The house 
on completion was the largest and best in the city, 
and the new society soon went ahead of the old 



and venerable mother Church in every thing that 
makes a Church efficient. The society was less than 
one hundred, but during the Winter, after the 
church was opened, about one hundred and forty 
joined the society. At the conference of 1854 one 
hundred and eleven members and a Sunday-school 
with fifty scholars were reported. In 1864, at the 
end of a decade, that report had swelled to two 
hundred and fifty-seven members, a church worth 
seven thousand dollars, and four hundred and thirty 
dollars for the mission society, with a Sunday-school 
numbering two hundred and fifty members. The 
best preachers of the conference have been sent to 
the charge, and altogether it is one of the most de- 
sirable points in the conference. It has the honor 
of being the first permanent second charge in any 
place outside of Chicago. J. H. Vincent was ap- 
pointed to this church in 1861, and with the ex- 
ception of his year in Palestine, served the Church 
until 1864. During this three years eighteen of 
the faithful band, eight of whom were soldiers, 
passed away from the Church below, as is hoped, 
to the Church above. They were, M. A. Haviland, 
James Benson, William Pelton, Harriet Nichols, 
John Travis, William Miller, Celia Hicks, Asahel 
Douglas, Mary J. Spooner, Arlin Raymond, Michael 
M. Kesler, Amasa M. Corbin, Lydia Hitchcock, 
Mary Jolers, Silena Woodruff, William Welch, 
George R. Higley, and John McKinley. 

Byron is one of those early and old towns on 
Rock River for years far from the railways, which 
as an appointment has been shifted about from pil- 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 387 

lar to post. It became a preaching point on the 
Buffalo Grove Circuit as early as 1837, and from 
1843 to 1853 was a point on the Mt. Morris Cir- 
cuit. Sometimes since then it has been on the Leaf 
River work, and sometimes the head-quarters of a 
circuit. A class was organized at the house of 
Erastus Norton on the west side of the river, a 
short distance above Byron, in January, 1837, by 
James McKean. Byron was then called Blooming- 
ville. The names of the honored members of this, 
one of the first classes on Rock River, were, David 
Juvenal (leader), Mrs. Juvenal, Erastus Norton and 
Nancy Norton, his wife, Eliza Shepherd, Rev. 
Chester Campbell and wife, Rev. Alexander Irvine 
(father of Wm. R. Irvine), and Mrs. Irvine. A 
class was organized at Buffalo Grove in March, 
1836, and at Rockford in September, 1836, and a 
log chapel was built at Washington Grove the same 
year, so that the Byron class was probably the 
fourth in the Rock River country. This class near 
Byron has been the alma mater of many others. It 
was the central point from which Methodism was 
spread for miles around. A frame church, costing 
three thousand five hundred dollars, was dedicated 
at Byron by F. P. Cleveland, December 28, 1882. 
Albany Circuit, which made its first appear- 
ance in 1853, was formed by a division of the 
Union Grove Circuit, and embraced then all the 
country between Albany and Erie. The appoint- 
ments in 1857 were at Albany ; at Newton, a small 
church two miles east of Albany ; Kingsbury Grove, 
where from an early day there has been a large 


company of old-style Methodists, and where, in 
1854, there was a glorious revival; at Erie, a small 
town on Rock River, twelve miles east of Albany. 
Philo Judson, when on the Savannah Circuit in 
1840, established the first regular appointment at 
Albany, which is a large old town on the Missis- 
sippi, built on gently receding terraces of the bluffs 
of the river. There had been preaching frequently, 
as at most other places, by local preachers, but no 
regular appointment until Mr. Judson organized 
the first class there. In 1856 an old school-house 
was purchased, and in 1858 fitted up for church 
purposes. In 1859, when Z. S. Kellogg was on 
the circuit, there was the most sweeping revival at 
Albany and Garden Prairie ever known in that 
country. Albany was enveloped in a flame of re- 
ligious emotion. From the rich banker to the poor 
boatman the people were found kneeling at the 
altar for prayer. The history of the tornado of 
1860 is known to the world. It commenced its 
course in June on the Clinton Railway at Tipton, 
sweeping along over Dewitt to the river. Trees 
were torn up, cattle were wafted in the air like 
feathers, and the very earth was raked as with huge 
harrows. Camanche, on the west side of the river 
two miles from Albany, was laid in ruins, and cross- 
ing the river the cyclone encountered a huge raft of 
pine logs which was torn into drifting logs, and some 
of the men drowned. It passed over Albany, crush- 
ing houses and killing several people, and then 
swept on over the prairies and farms by Lee Center 
on to the east. It wiped one of the Twin Groves 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 389 

entirely out. In its route it took people from their 
beds, and wafting them over houses and trees set 
many of them gently down, while others it killed, 
dashing them against the trees. One man near Lee 
Center took a child under each arm and sought to 
go into the cellar. He was too late for that, and 
when the house was swept from its foundations he 
was taken up on the wings of the wind and whirled 
circling around above the locust trees in a wild 
night ride, and set down gently without injury to 
either himself or the children. Such were the weird 
■fantasies and curious tricks of disaster played by 
this most terrible enginery of nature. At Albany, 
among other disasters, the tornado swept away the 
humble place of worship used by the Methodists, 
and laid their pleasant brick parsonage on the hill 
into a heap of rubbish. Mrs. Kellogg, the preacher's 
wife, with three or four children was alone in the 
house. Her husband had an appointment at Garden 
.Plain, three miles away, that evening. She was in 
the bedroom with her children preparing to retire. 
When the windows commenced to crash Mrs. Kel- 
logg sprung with her little ones into a large iron- 
bound moving box. In this fortunate place of 
refuge, safe from the tempest, happy in God, she 
was buried in the heaps. Those who went to the 
place as soon as the storm was over found all as 
still as death. Brother Kellogg started at once on 
foot for home at eight o'clock, but found the road 
so filled with fallen trees he was until twelve at 
night reaching home. S. A. W. Jewett, the pre^ 
siding elder of the district, went East for help, and 


by this and other means the Methodists were enabled 
to rear a pleasant house of worship, restoring their 
pleasant places laid waste. 

There is a fine church at Garden Plain. Its 
origin involves a chain of causes. On this prairie 
where the church stands there was no preaching in 
1858. A few members of the Methodist Church 
were scattered here and there who went three miles 
to meetings. On the prairie, six miles from Al- 
bany, lived in 1857 a Pennsylvanian, a farmer well- 
off in worldly goods. Himself and family never 
went to church. Charles W. Brewer, who after- 
wards became a member of the Upper Iowa Confer- 
ence, went out to spend a week or two painting the 

new house this Mr. S was building. He found 

there a very intelligent boy of seventeen, a son of 

Mr. S , who was studious and thoughtful. By 

private conversation Charles led Willie S to 

Christ. He joined the Church at a two days' meet- 
ing held by the writer at Newton in 1857, and at 
once began to attend class-meeting in what was 
called the Minta School-house. The father noticed 
Willie's course for a long time, and at length, in the 
Fall of 1858, went .to class-meeting to see what kind 
of a place it was. He was struck with conviction, 
and was soon converted. A revival, widespread 
and powerful, followed, and so great was the num- 
ber of new recruits there was not room for them in 
the school-house, so that in 1859 they were obliged 
to build a church. 

At Erie in 1857 and 1859 there were the most 
powerful revivals we have ever been engaged in. 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 391 

The meeting of 1857 went on for a week before 
any one ventured forward. Then an influential 
young man led the way, and many were forward 
every night. At one of the first speaking meetings 
the young man arose and delivered a very curious 
speech. "He was striving," he said, "to assimilate 
himself into the character of God." We learned 
afterwards that he had his " talk " written out on 
paper in his pocket, and had read it to his fellow 
students at school. He at once retired from the 
meetings, and has since become a talented lawyer. 
He set the meeting in motion by leading the way, 
but whether he was sincere or not, or what were 
his real purposes, we do not know until this day. 
And curiously enough at the meeting held in 1859 
a very intelligent literary young lady was the first 
to go forward, who after being forward one or two 
evenings retired among the crowd on the back 
seats, and in a few months married the curious 
genius who had led the way two years before. The 
last we knew of that lawyer and his wife they were 
still not professors of religion. But we shall ever 
give them credit for leading the way in two of the 
most successful meetings we ever held. During the 
second meeting at Erie a poor street drunkard came 
evenings, creeping behind the desk among the crowd 
to hide his tattered garments. One evening, when 
asked if he did not wish to become religious, he 
answered that he was too bad. At last he ventured 
forward, and was happily converted. We found his 
family in a slab shed, through whose cracks you 
could at night count the stars. The people rallied 


to the family's help, and this man became a thriv- 
ing prosperous Christian. Albany Circuit still con- 
tinues to stand as a specimen of old-time circuits. 
At last a railroad came and the Church became 

Kankakee City Mission began its existence 
in 1853. The site of the town, covered all the time 
with thick woods, had been for years in the bounds 
of Momence Circuit, and at Bourbonais Grove, a 
mile and a half away, there had been a small class 
and preaching for years. The real nucleus, how- 
ever, of the society had been at Lamb's, across the 
river. Mr. Lamb, whose wife was a zealous Meth- 
odist, was an old tavern-keeper in the neighbor- 
hood of Naperville, who settled within a mile of 
Kankakee City in 1849. A Protestant Methodist 
preacher, familiarly called Elder Gay, began to 
preach regularly in Mr. Lamb's house in the Fall 
of 1849. In 1850 J. L. Jenkins was sent to lay 
out and organize Horse Creek Circuit, which lay 
for twenty miles along the south bank of the Kan- 
kakee River. He at once established an appoint- 
ment at Mr. Lamb's house. This was kept up the 
next year by the writer of these pages. In the 
Summer of 1852 the preaching was moved to a 
slab school-house, a half mile south of the present 
site of Kankakee. The same Summer the ground 
was broken along the river by a contractor, com- 
mencing that branch of the great Central Railway. 
We are not certain whether this appointment was 
kept up from 1852 to 1853 or not. By September, 
1853, the cars were running from Chicago, fifty- 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 393 

five miles, to the Kankakee River. The depot was 
built and the trees cut down for a few shanties, 
which were being erected at the time of conference. 
The Kankakee Mission that year took in all the 
country from five miles east of Kankakee to Horse 
Creek, twelve miles west, and was supplied by Dr. 
Chester Reeder, who, after being admitted to con- 
ference, was discontinued in 1855, for which cause 
he joined the Protestant Methodists, and was in 
1865 practicing medicine at Somanoc. The ap- 
pointments were at Kankakee, Aroma, Horse Creek, 
Limestone, Sammon's Point, and Bourbonais Grove. 
Dr. Reeder had glorious times during the year. 
He preached in the freight house, and in the Fall 
of 1853 formed a class at Kankakee, consisting of 
eighteen members, who had moved in from the 
country round about to enter into business there. 
In 1854 the court-house was commenced, and quite 
a town existed where there was nothing but a 
dense thicket in the Summer of 1853. In 1854 
James McClane, who remained two years, was ap- 
pointed to the work. 

In 1855 Kankakee became a station, with one or 
two out appointments. A brick church was built 
and dedicated in 1855. The dedication services 
were conducted by Sias Bolles — who in those days 
dedicated nearly all the churches — on December 16, 
1855. His text was, "Freely ye have received, 
freely give." The points of the sermon were, first, 
the free gifts of God, civil and religious; and, 
second, our obligation to God for these gifts. 
The church was of brick, with a stone basement 


and fine spire, being thirty-six by fifty-two feet in 
size, and cost three thousand dollars. There was a 
debt of sixteen hundred dollars. Mr. Bolles set to 
work, and raised a subscription of eighteen hundred 
dollars. It would be a little curious to follow out 
the history of dedications in the conference. In 
the days of this dedication Sias Bolles opened nearly 
all the churches, and no man ever raised the amounts 
of indebtedness so easily as himself. But the pro- 
gramme has varied." John Clark, Dr. R. S. Foster, 
Wilbur McKaig, J. C. Stoughton, Hooper Crews, 
Luke Hitchcock, R. L. Collier, and John Dempster 
have borne an honorable part, but after Brother 
Bolles, Dr. Eddy became the leading favorite. It 
would be a curious thing to note the churches he 
dedicated in our limits since 1857, and he probably 
raised larger sums than any other man. To raise 
between two and three thousand dollars in sub- 
scriptions was no uncommon thing. 

When the new church was completed at Kan- 
kakee a society of seventy members entered its 
walls to carry on the work of God there. Ever 
since the charge has occupied an honorable place 
on the list of appointments, having at times gra- 
cious revivals. The Winter of 1863 was especially 
a time of great revival influence. Under the lead- 
ings ot Elijah Stone there was a work long to be 
remembered. In 1864 there were two hundred 
members, a church and parsonage, together worth 
four thousand five hundred dollars. They paid the 
preacher a salary of eight hundred dollars, and had 
a Sunday-school with four hundred and thirty 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 395 

scholars. In 1884 Kankakee was set off to Central 
Illinois Conference. 

The country included in the Crete charge in 1853 
was very much the same as that embraced by the 
Thornton Mission in 1837. They had just built a 
neat little church, and purchased a parsonage at 
Crete, and in 1853 it was a pleasant little work 
with a few outside appointments. In the Winter 
of 1854 there was a good revival, under the labors 
of James McClane, with many conversions. Twenty- 
four joined the Church. 

Morris is another charge constituted at the con- 
ference of 1853. It had previously been an ap- 
pointment on the Newark Circuit, and, being set off 
as a mission station in 1853, John L. Jenkins, that 
awkward yet deep-thoughted Yankee, was sent on 
as the preacher, with a missionary appropriation of 
one hundred dollars. The society attempted to set 
up for themselves with surrounding appointments 
in 1849, but the scheme ended in a year. When 
an appointment was first established there we can 
not tell, but in 1843 S. F. Denning, who was then 
on the Milford Circuit, had an appointment once 
in two weeks, on Saturday forenoon, in the Morris 
court-house, which was used as the preaching-place 
until a school-house was built in 1852. When Mr. 
Denning and Irvine were on the Newark Circuit in 
1851 Brother Irvine lived at Newark and Brother 
Denning lived at Morris. Writing August, 1853, 
he says : " No place with the same advantages has 
improved within three years more rapidly than Mor- 
ris, . . . and buildings are going up every day. 


Although it has quite a Catholic population, yet a 
large portion of its citizens are Protestants, possess- 
ing intellectual and moral qualifications rarely ex- 
ceeded in any of our Western or Eastern towns. 
The Congregationalists have a neat little house of 
worship, with a stated pastor. The Episcopalians 
and Catholics have churches. The Methodists have 
just completed a neat and well-finished house for 
the Lord ; it was dedicated on the 13th of August, 
1853, by John Clark and Sias Bolles. Brother 
Clark opened the services on Saturday at 11 o'clock 
by a very interesting and profitable preparatory dis- 
course, which was followed by Brother Bolles in the 
evening. Mr. Clark preached Sunday morning, and 
the house was dedicated to the service of God." 
The church was commenced in 1852. 

The conference of 1854 met at Lewiston, in 
Fulton County. This may be set down as the last 
conference to which the preachers traveled in old 
style. In 1853 there was a railroad from Elgin and 
from Kankakee City to Chicago, but this year there 
was no public conveyance, unless it was the old- 
fashioned stage-coach. Ever since the conference 
has met at places on the railways. Lewiston was 
at the extreme south-western portion of the confer- 
ence. The present writer started from Momence, 
traveled fifty miles to Ash Grove by buggy, joined 
horses with William R. Irvine, and traveled one hun- 
dred and fifty miles to Lewiston over the most dusty 
roads ever seen, and this was a fair specimen of the 
travel of a greater portion of the preachers. Bishop 
Morris was again president ; he was never after 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 397 

present at the conference. Peter Cartwright was 
present on a visit, adding music to the occasion, and 
John Dempster, working for a noble cause. It was 
Dr. Dempster's first appearance at the conference, 
and while Elder Cartwright introduced himself in 
a sermon with as much fun as a comedian, Dr. 
Dempster introduced himself in one of those ser- 
mons jutting with thought that had startled his 
hearers for forty years like the falling of an ava- 
lanche. When a report was adopted approving the 
Biblical Institute, Mr. Cartwright remarked quite 
loudly to a circle around him : " There, you have 
swallowed the critter, horns and all !" Such is the 
reception great movements that wand-like are to 
move the centuries sometimes receive at the hands 
of those who should be wiser ! The new events 
of this conference were of more consequence than the 
events of any other session (unless we except the 
first) of the Rock River Conference, and our pages 
will be many ere we are ready to go to the Rock 
Island Conference of 1855. Most of the new preach- 
ers received are in the Central Illinois Conference, 
and do not claim our notice ; the transfers were of 
more consequence, among whom were some of our 
most worthy laborers. Among those received on trial 
were James Bush, a short, good-natured young 
Englishman, fresh from a Sheffield pocket-knife 
manufactory, who labored faithfully till his death, 
in 1883 ; A. G. Smith, a man of deep piety, who, 
in spite of a bad pulpit manner, by affectionate en- 
treaty and zealous labors, brought many to Christ; 
HoiiLAND W. Richardson, a brother of George 


Richardson, whose father was for a time a useful 
member of the New Hampshire Conference. H. W. 
Richardson became one of the most useful of our 
young preachers. Ardent, impetuous, social, he 
won all comers. His health failed in 1859, and, 
after graduating through two medical colleges, he 
settled down in Harvard to practice medicine, where, 
as a superannuated member of the conference, he 
remained for years an efficient church worker. 
He organized the Methodist societies of Harvard 
and at Rockton. Another admission was G. F. 
Gage, who flamed for a while, and Avho, from re- 
proving sisters in class for wearing rings, swung on 
the pendulum on which all radical souls swing over 
almost to Universalisim and worldliness, and located 
in 1860 to go into business. William D. Atchison 
was another admitted at Lewiston. He was raised 
a Scotch Presbyterian in the neighborhood of Mt. 
Carroll, and began to study for the ministry, but 
becoming displeased with the doctrine of election, 
which stands out as hugely spectral in Calvinistic 
Churches as ever, he revolted from the Calvinistic 
to the Arminian ranks, and entered the conference 
to become one of its most efficient workers. He is 
one of those men who at first disappoint you, but 
succeed in the end. In going from a back circuit 
to Belvidere, in 1863, many feared he would fail, 
and when he entered the pulpit some drifting ones 
left their pews for other churches. The congrega- 
tions were slim, but his ardent support of the Union 
cause and the exhibition of real talent filled the 
pews, until the church would not well hold the peo- 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 399 

pie. Great was the regret of most when, at the 
close of his first year, he was appointed chap- 
lain in the army. U. P. Goliday was a man 
of large family, who had been a practicing physi- 
cian for many years while he resisted the call to 
preach. He was now too old to succeed to the 
greatest extent. His habits were formed, and while 
reigning as physician he must serve as preacher. 
This he was unused to, and sometimes fretted in the 
work. He was, when in the work, a man of fine 
talent. In 1 859, he went to Western Iowa, and for 
years was a leader in the Des Moines Conference. 
He filled efficiently the office of presiding elder, 
and was several times elected delegate to the Gen- 
eral Conference. At length, with the gray hairs 
of age upon him, honored more than most, he re- 
tired to the ranks of the superannuates, and made 
himself a pleasant home at Lenox, Iowa. As a 
rule, men who enter conference at full age, and after 
they have served in some other calling, do not readily 
adjust themselves to the work, and because they do 
not succeed they become sour-spirited and blame 
the Church. We dissent entirely from a view ex- 
pressed by Dr. Raymond at conference in 1864, 
that no man should enter conference till thirty 
years of age. A man's most noble impulses to la- 
bor are beginning to subside at thirty. The more 
we look at results the more we are of opinion that 
the Scriptures are correct which institute old men 
for counsel and young men for war. There is per- 
haps hardly an exception to the statement that no 
man in middle age has left other employ to enter 


the Rock River Conference and succeeded greatly 
as a minister. William Gaddis and W. P. Jones 
are perhaps exceptions. And if a young man called 
to the work resists and goes into worldly employ 
until he is no longer available, let him not blame 
the Church if she prefers young men to such as he 
who is passing swiftly to the superannuated list. It 
is his misfortune and not the Church's fault. 

The members received by transfer were John 
Dempster, C. M. Woodard, Thomas Williams — an 
erratic brother, who left in a year or two, J. J. 
Gridley by name — W. F. Stewart, and Josiah Gibson. 

But we turn to notice the new charges which 
aspired for honorable recognition in 1854. 

Batavia was named in connection with Geneva 
in 1852, and S. P. Keyes appointed to the charge 
with the express understanding that he was to 
travel at large to raise money to build a church at 
Batavia. There were few members there, but Mr. 
John Van Nertwick, of the Burlington Railway, 
had offered one thousand dollars toward a church 
if the Methodists would build. The conference 
proposed to accept this offer, and Brother Keyes, 
being appointed, he performed his work nobly, 
erecting a neat church. Very little was collected 
abroad, however. In the Summer of 1853 Dr. C. 
T. Hinman, president of the new university at 
Evanston, went out to dedicate this church, accom- 
panied by J. V. Watson, the editor of the North- 
western. The editor pronounced the Methodism 
there to be of the " right stripe," and fell in love, 
as well he might, with the beautiful town. Spon- 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 401 

taneous amens and shouts arose from souls not afraid 
to confess their love for the Savior. The church 
was, according to Watson, " a superb edifice ; its 
superior we learn," the editor continues, " is not to 
be found in the West," That will do for 1853; 
the Methodist world has moved since then. The 
Batavia Church is built of stone, with basement 
and handsome steeple bearing up (in 1853) a sweet- 
toned bell. The whole cost (in cheap times) was 
five thousand dollars. The dedication sermon was 
one of Dr. Hinman's best, and the services were a 
jubilee to the little class. In 1853 S. H. Stocking 
was sent to the charge. He found at Batavia thirty- 
six members, which number by January was in- 
creased to seventy. The place for many years had 
been included in the St. Charles Circuit, and in the 
village, or near by, there has been an appointment 
from the early day. In 1842 the preaching was in 
the Episcopal Church. 

Caledonia, with H. W. Richardson as preacher, 
was another charge that appeared in 1854. The 
building of the Beloit Branch of the Galena Rail- 
road gave the need for the new circuit. At Lin- 
derman's neighborhood, six miles east of Beloit, 
there had been an appointment and class since 1838; 
the other appointments were new. In 1863 the 
name was changed to Poplar Grove, after the sta- 
tion of that name, the main society being there and 
no class at all at Caledonia. In 1863, under the 
direction of that nervous, energetic man, peerless in 
wit, D. J. Holmes by name, a church was begun at 

Poplar Grove, which was finished in the Spring of 



1864, and dedicated by Eobert L. Collier, one of 
those brilliant transfers of Chicago. It was a day 
of joy for the Poplar Grove people. The work on 
that circuit is still somewhat in an embryo state, 
and future years must develop its capabilities. 

An appointment was established at Stirling as 
early as 1840, the neighborhood being then known 
as Rock River Rapids. R. A. Blanchard preached 
there at that time, and the preaching was continued 
by L. S. Walker in 1842. It was for many years 
on the old Buffalo Grove Circuit. The circuit was 
supplied in 1854 by G. J. Bliss, a man who has 
since made himself known in the conference. Until 
1857 the appointments were at Stirling, Como, 
Empire, and New Genesee. In 1855 S. F. Denning 
and G. W. T. "Wright were appointed to the circuit. 
There were appointments at Gap Grove, New Gen- 
esee, Rock Creek, Como, and Empire. There was 
preaching twice each Sabbath in Stirling; one Sun- 
day in the ol court-house at the north end of the 
long town, the other in the old stone school-house. 
The church — a spacious brick costing nine thousand 
dollars — was commenced in 1856, and built mostly 
under the direction of J. E. Cobby, a local preacher 
who had formerly belonged to the Illinois Confer- 
ence. It was completed in 1857, and dedicated by 
Luke Hitchcock. The debt was then three thou- 
sand two hundred and fourteen dollars. They se- 
cured pledges amounting to twelve hundred dollars, 
but by borrowing money at high rates the debt ran 
up to four or five thousand dollars, and the church 
was sold in 1861 and bought back by the society. 

CONFERENCES OF 1852-1854. 403 

It will stand as a monument of folly. It was at 
one end of a town a mile long, and the town going 
away south as fast as enterprise could carry it. It 
was built there to enhance the value of certain 
property. The town did not need then a nine 
thousand dollar church. But the Methodists have 
manfully sustained the work through many dark 
days, and the Head of the Church has recompensed 
them in frequent revivals and the conversion of 

There was an appointment at Daniel Pierce's, 
near where Oswego now stands, in 1832, and prob- 
ably from that time there has been regular preaching 
there. The place was included in the Milford Cir- 
cuit until it passed into the Plainfield Charge in 
1848. When in 1854 Oswego gave name to a cir- 
cuit there were appointments at Oswego and Bristol, 
and the work was supplied by M. Lewis, a local 
preacher, who performed much valuable service in 
Kendall County. A church was built in Oswego 
in 1854, and dedicated the 15th of October of that 
year by Sias Bolles, the irrepressible church dedi- 
cator. The text used on the occasion was Matthew 
xvi, 18: "On this rock," etc. The obstacles with 
which the Christian Church has to contend, and the 
resources which the Church has to overcome these ob- 
stacles, was the befitting theme of the occasion. The 
sermon was characterized by that devotional spirit 
and practical piety so peculiar to Brother Bolles, 
which never failed to gain the attention and move 
the heart. There was five hundred dollars un- 
provided for. This was soon raised in subscriptions, 


and the house appropriately dedicated. It has since 
been the scene of many religious successes. 

The other new charges constituted at the Lewis- 
ton Conference were Warren, since become one 
of our best stations; Homer; Sugar Grove, a 
work taken from Kaneville Circuit, having ap- 
pointments at Montgomery, Bristol Station, Jericho, 
and Sugar Grove. The work was supplied by T. 
L. Olmsted, who had more than forty conversions 
during the year. Several of the preachers on Sugar 
Grove Circuit lived at Montgomery. 

Niles, another new appointment constituted in 
1853, was a part of the old Union Ridge work. 
The appointments were at the Niles School-house ; 
Penoyer's School-house; at a school-house on the 
north branch of the Chicago River; at Deerfield; 
at Port Clinton ; in Hiram Clark's house ; and in 
Rev. A. E. Day's house. During the year 1854 
the preacher, Thomas Cochran, raised a subscrip- 
tion for the Church at Brickton, now Park Ridge. 

At the close of this half decade — 1850 to 1855 — 
there were eleven thousand members, and seventy 
traveling preachers in the bounds of the conference. 
There were seventy-eight different charges. In 
1885 there are two hundred and twenty-two 
charges, with two hundred and forty members of 
conference, and twenty-eight thousand members of 
the Church. 



WE come now to note some of the most influ- 
ential occurrences of the conference's history. 
We refer to Evanston and its schools, and the North- 
western Christian Advocate. May 31, 1850, Zadoc 
Hall, Richard Haney, and R. A. Blanchard, pastors 
of the three city Churches, Grant Goodrich, Orring- 
ton Lunt, H. "W. Clark, John Evans, J. K. Botsford, 
and A. J. Brown, prominent Chicago laymen, met 
at the office of Grant Goodrich to consider the pro- 
priety of establishing a university for the North- 
west. Resolutions were passed in favor of imme- 
diate action, and a committee appointed to secure a 
charter from the State Legislature. The charter 
was obtained in 1851, and June 15, 1851, A. S. 
Sherman, Grant Goodrich, J. K. Botsford, John 
Evans, O. Lunt, A. J. Brown, George F. Foster, J. 
M. Arnold, E. B. Kingsley, James Kettlestrings, N. 
S. Davis, and A. Funk were elected local trustees. 
In 1852 lots valued at eight thousand dollars were 
purchased on Jackson Street for a site for the pre- 
paratory school, and a committee appointed to select 
a site for the university proper. In 1853 the se- 
lection was made. At first a tract of land, twelve 
miles north-west of the city, was fixed upon. But 


a few of the trustees pleaded for time, thinking a 
better site could be found. One of the most per- 
sistent of these was Orrington Lunt. The purchase 
was about completed when Mr. Lunt took a trip up 
the lake shore, where he thought the location ought 
to be. The road running north from Chicago was 
along a ridge, some distance west of the lake. To the 
east was low, swampy, open land, and travelers sup- 
posed the wet land continued to the lake. Mr. Lunt 
was riding with a man who had business with a 
person along the road near Grosse Point. While he 
was engaged with the man Mr. Lunt went out alone 
across the wet land towards the lake and discovered 
the beautiful sandy ridges where Evanston now 
stands. *He became so enthused by the scenes that 
his very dreams that night were filled with visions 
of the coming glory of the institution. Mr. Lunt 
was determined to have the committee on location 
visit the place. This committee, O. Lunt, Philo 
Judson, John Evans, and George F. Foster, on a 
beautiful Summer day in August took their car- 
riages and rode northward. At length they drove 
out upon the present university ground. The lake, 
trees, and beautiful lands inspired them. Brother 
Foster, always enthusiastic, threw up his hat and 
all joined in the cry, " "We have found it." No 
doubting or discussion was ever heard from that 
moment. The trustees immediately purchased three 
hundred acres of land at seventy dollars per acre, 
and Evanston began to rise from the earth. 

In June, 1853, Rev. Clark T. Hinman was elected 
president. The village was named after John Evans, 


the president of the board of trustees. President 
Hininan soon died, and in 1856 R. S. Foster was 
elected president, and served for four years. In 
1866 Dr. E. O. Haven filled the presidential chair. 
Since then the university has had Dr. C. H. Fowler 
and Dr. Joseph Cummins at its head. It will be 
seen that three bishops, Foster, Haven, and Fowler, 
have been in charge at Evanston. Some of the 
first graduates were T. E. Annis, W. E. Clifford, S. 
L. Eastman, E. J. Searle, H. M. Kidder, in 1859 ; 
A. C. Linn, W. A. Lord, H. A. Plimpton, E. Q. 
Searle, M. C. Spalding, F. A. Springer, and Hart 
L. Stewart, in 1860; J. W. Haney, M. Mohler, W. 
A. Spencer, and Warren Taplin in 1861. 

As soon as it was seen that Evanston was to be 
literary ground J. W. Jones and his brother Wm. 
P. Jones commenced the erection of a building, 
which flourished for a long time under the title of 
Northwestern Female College. This institution was 
inaugurated in 1854, and until 1865 W. P. Jones 
was at its head. 

Mr. Jones showed indomitable courage. The 
school was always a private enterprise under the 
wing of the Methodist Church, and as it was at first 
thought that the conference would in time establish 
a female college at Evanston the Jones College was 
given the cold side by many, and bitterly opposed 
by some. W. P. Jones literally fought his way to 
success and recognition, nobly winning this recog- 
nition. In 1856 the building was burned down — 
a calamity that would have appalled most men but 
Principal Jones. Out of the ashes grew a new and 


better building, and the institution still prospered 
wonderfully. A poet himself of no mean order, 
Mr. Jones succeeded in calling around him poets 
that have made themselves a name through the 
medium of the press. In many numbers of the 
Ladies' Repository the reader can find poems by 
Luella Clark and Lizzie Mace McFarland. Lately 
the name of Emily J. Bugbee was added to the 
list of really fine poets, whose strains were first 
chanted in the dim lamp-light of the Northwestern 
Female College. The institution became a neces- 
sity patronized by the good people of Illinois. 

The first graduate of the college was Miss Lydia 
M. Hayes, who graduated in 1858, and directly be- 
came the wife of President Jones and a teacher in 
the institution. Other graduates have been Mar- 
garet McKee and Francis E. Willard, author of 
that successful book, "Nineteen Beautiful Years," 
in 1859, and in 1885 president of the. Woman's 
National Temperance movement; Julia Atkins; 
Mary H. Bannister, who became the wife of Oliver 
Willard; Louisa Drake; Martha J. Stewart; Ada 
Ward; Mary E. Willard, subject of "Nineteen 
Beautiful Years;" Elizabeth D. Wilson and Julia 
Wood in 1860; Louisa M. Bragdon, Lydia M. 
Howe, Isabella S. Milner, Mary E. Bragdon, Mar- 
tha J. Shannon, and Celia S. Stowe in 1861. This 
school finally became the Woman's College in con- 
nection with the university. 

But still a nobler work than any named in this 
chapter demands our attention. 

The Garrett Biblical Institute, organized 


in 1854, had already, when but ten years were past, 
created ripples on the Indian Ocean, and was swaying 
influence among the peaks of the Himalaya Mount- 
ains. After the infant Church was planted in New 
York City, in 1766, Mr. Wesley was importuned 
from time to time to send out laborers to care for 
the opening fields. Mr. Wesley listened to the calls, 
and sent out young men in pairs. Richard Board- 
man and Joseph Pilmoor came over in 1769 ; Fran- 
cis Asbury and Richard Wright in 1772 ; Thomas 
Rankin and George Shadford in 1773; and James 
Dempster and Martin Rodda in 1774. No more were 
sent until Dr. Coke came in 1784. Dempster and 
Rodda arrived in the latter part of the year 1774, 
in time to relieve Asbury from New York for other 
labors. James Dempster was a Scotchman, who 
had been educated at the University of Edinburgh. 
He traveled about ten years under Wesley in Eng- 
land, and Wesley's correspondence with him shows 
that he was much respected by that matchless 
leader. At the American Conference of 1775, Mr. 
Dempster was appointed to New York, but his 
health soon failed. He married, and the same year 
retired from the itinerancy and the Church, for to 
marry in those days was to retire or locate, as no 
provision was made for preachers' wives. He 
joined the Presbyterian Church, in which he was 
reared, with the avowal that he still held Arminian 
views, and settled down as a minister of that de- 
nomination in Florida, Montgomery County, New 
York. He was attacked by sudden disease in the 
pulpit in 1804, and died ten days after. He left 



the ranks of those peerless men who kindled re- 
splendent fires on our shores himself, but gave one 
of the most noted men to the Church, who for forty 
years shone unequaled. That son was Dr. John 
Dempster. At this place where his father settled 
John was born on the second day of January, 1794, 
being at his death, in 1863, seventy years of age. 
He was the son of a second wife. The father died 
when the son was ten years old, leaving him with- 
out any one to direct him in life. Consequently he 
grew up ignorant of books, having barely sufficient 
knowledge of writing and arithmetic to carry on the 
little trade in which, when a young man, he en- 
gaged with an older brother. The trade referred 
to was a tin store, which employed a man to ped- 
dle through the country. While in connection with 
this tin trade, at the age of eighteen, he was con- 
verted. Marvelous stories concerning the conversion 
of a tin-peddler are frequently told by romantic 
preachers. The doctor informed the writer that the 
story is romance. The firm employed a peddler; 
that is all there is of it. At the time of his con- 
version young Dempster was wild, and scarcely ever 
attended meeting. A camp-meeting was held near 
his place, which he would not condescend to attend. 
The family, however, attended, driving back and 
forth each day. By accident the horses the family 
drove became lame. John had a fine span of 
sprightly colts, which the family requested the use 
of. John was kind enough to grant the request, 
but, like many another, he would suffer no one but 
himself to drive the horses. He was, therefore, led 


by a kind of necessity to the camp-ground. While 
there he was stricken by the Word, and, commenc- 
ing to seek religion, he wrestled in the hedge sur- 
rounding the camp-ground all one night until 
sunrise, and, to use his own words, uttered at Rock- 
ford in the last Rock River Conference love-feast 
he ever attended : "A long night of struggle was 
my lot, a night whose darkness bordered the world 
of despair; but, just as the natural sun arose to 
shed its beams upon the world, a new sun arose — 
it was the Sun of eternity. The clouds, the trees, 
were vocal with music, and I joined the glad con- 
cert." According to accounts there was but one 
other conversion at the meeting. A little girl, who 
afterward became a pious, useful woman, was also 
brought to £he Savior. The meeting was consid- 
ered by those near-sighted Methodists as a partial 
failure, but a noble ministry of fifty years was not, 
after all, a small result. This was in 1812. In 
three months young Dempster was preaching the 
Gospel, being employed as a supply, and in 1816 
was admitted to the old Genesee Conference, with 
George Peck, at a time when there were but six 
hundred and ninety-five preachers in the whole 
Church, and when Isaac Puffer, Charles Giles, George 
Gary, Loring Grant, William Case, and Elias Bowen 
were preachers in the conference. He was appointed 
to St. Lawrence Circuit, Canada. The work was a 
vast one, and most of it wilderness. During the 
cold season his horse broke down, and he continued 
his travels on foot. His boots gave out, but he 
went on still, his feet constantly wet with snow 


water. By conference time he was nearly broken 
down. He was afterward appointed to Paris, Water- 
town, Scipio, Homer, Auburn, Rochester, and Caz- 
enovia; and in 1829 was made presiding elder of 
Cayuga District in the Oneida Conference. From 
the first he was surrounded by Calvinism and perse- 
cution. These were the elements that constituted 
him a man. It was under these early surroundings 
that he said that a man who would teach the 
damnation of infants " ought to have his lips sealed 
with an eternal frost!" Dempster traveled the 
Cayuga and Black River Districts as presiding elder 
until, in 1836, he went out as missionary to Buenos 
Ayres, a charge afterward filled by his son-in-law, 
William Goodfellow. Returning from South Amer- 
ica, he was appointed to Vestry Street, New York, 
in 1842. He continued in the city until 1845, when 
he entered upon the most noted enterprise of his 
life ; that of aiding in the establishment of the first 
Methodist Biblical Institute in America. While 
presiding elder between 1829 and 1836 he was much 
concerned about a supply of fitting men to fill the 
rising Methodist appointments in his districts. 
Thinking, like many since, that a resort to " im- 
portation " would supply his demand, he applied to 
Bishop Hedding for the transfer of capable men 
from New England. He was informed that New 
England had no such men to spare. From this 
time Dempster began to brood over the thought of 
supply, seeking some means of creating a better class 
of men. These anxious thoughts culminated in his 
work in the Concord Biblical Institute in 1845. 


In the Minutes of this year we have " Biblical 
Institute, Newbury, Vermont," John Dempster, 
professor of theology; Justin Spaulding, agent. 
This is the first record made in Church documents 
of the now popular institutes. In 1840 Osmon 
C. Baker, afterward bishop, formed a theological 
class in connection with the Newbury Seminary, 
Vermont, of which he was principal. In 1843 
the "Newbury Biblical Institute" was organized 
as a distinct institution, with a distinct board of 
trustees, but the institute occupied a portion of the 
seminary building. Professor William M.Willett was 
invited to take charge of the new institution. A 
catalogue was published in 1843, in which we find 
these items : " Rev. Wm. M. Willett, president and 
professor of Biblical literature; Rev. O. C. Baker, 
professor of theology." For five years previous 
to this Professor Willett had had a sort of theolog- 
ical class at Middletown Wesleyan University. The 
Newbury Institute was under the patronage of the 
Vermont and New Hampshire Conferences. Pres- 
ident Willett did the whole work of the institute 
for two years, with the exception of an evening or 
two a week in which Professor Baker taught elocu- 
tion and criticism, and he also heard a class in 
1844 each day in Watson's Institutes and the Dis- 
cipline. In 1845, at President Willett's request, 
Dr. Dempster was invited to labor in the institu- 
tion. After a short term of actual service at New- 
bury Dr. Dempster labored to establish a general 
institute under the patronage of all the New Eng- 
land conferences. This was accomplished in 1847. 


In 1846 Dr. Dempster went to England as del- 
egate to the World's Evangelical Alliance. Soon 
after returning he received a letter from England 
from a Mr. Stedman, the son of a Baptist minister, 
Avho had known and admired Dr. Dempster in 
Buenos Ayres, but was now residing in England. 
The letter contained a check for one thousand dol- 
lars, and stated that having the money on hand the 
writer could think of no better way of disposing 
of it than by sending it to Dr. Dempster to be put 
to some good use. It was a godsend to the almost 
penniless institute. The doctor and his good wife 
fell upon their knees to return thanks to God for 
his goodness. The feeble undertaking was removed 
to Concord, and was opened with devout prayer in 
the month of April, 1847, in the house of Mr. H. 
Grinnel, as the Methodist General Biblical Institute, 
under the care of John Dempster, Charles Adams, 
and Osmon C. Baker. Here with little money, with- 
out endowment, without popular favor, opposed by 
many of the leading ministers, and by the Advocate 
and Journal, with faith in God the peerless trio set 
to work. In October, 1847, the school was removed 
to a building prepared for it. 

Seven years of earnest labor was given to the 
Concord Institute ere Dr. Dempster left it in worthy 
hands, to open at Evanston the second school of the 
kind in the American Methodist Church. He set- 
tled at Evanston in 1854, and remained at the head 
of the institute there until November, 1863. He 
had set in motion the Western Institute and had 
watched over nine years of its young life, and was 


desirous ere he departed to open one more school. 
The third was to be in California. It was a grand 
thought that he should construct a grand body with 
vital parts in the Mississippi Valley, and one wing 
rippling the Atlantic, the other the Pacific Ocean, 
but the gorgeous vision was left to be completed by 
other hands. The doctor asked leave of absence 
of the Evanston board that he might visit the Pa- 
cific coast to set in motion an institution upon those 
golden shores. A painful tumor of long standing 
was so wearing to his health he undertook to have 
it removed ere he set out for California. On the 
25th of November, 1863, in company with his wife 
he went to Chicago and put up at the hospitable 
home of George F. Foster, where on the same day 
the painful operation was performed. The perform- 
ance prostrated him. Physically weak, he could 
not rally. This was on Wednesday ; he lingered 
until Saturday, then, his head resting on Dr. Eddy's 
breast, he passed calmly away. This was the last 
of earth to one of the noblest men the conference 
has known. We shall never forget the closing por- 
tion of the Rockford love-feast speech, whose begin- 
ning we have already quoted. After reciting in a 
sentence the incidents of his conversion, he con- 
tinued : " The day is far spent, the night is at hand, 
but the path is right beneath my feet. I look for 
a crown of immortality. When death shall come I 
feel that the stroke that disengages my spirit shall 
be the wing that shall waft me to the spirit world." 
He left four children and an aged widow to mourn 
his loss. As an instance of his standing in the 


Church we may add that in 1828, 1832, 1836, 1840, 
1848, 1856, and 1860 he was a member of the Gen- 
eral Conference, and was elected as a delegate for 
1864. When he first came into the Rock River 
Conference he pushed his views of ministerial edu- 
cation to such a length he was not well received, 
and for some reason he never seemed to awake to 
any great effort in the conference until 1861, when 
in a missionary address at Freeport he became al- 
most superhuman. In short, condensed sentences, 
in which were many Dempsterian adjectives, he 
startled us for an hour. It was the grandest effort 
to which we have ever listened. After that several 
times he carried the audience by his pathos. In 
1862 he was chosen with Dr. W. W. Patton, by a 
public meeting of citizens of Chicago, to visit Pres- 
ident Lincoln to urge him to adopt the emancipa- 
tion policy. The President urged the necessity of 
conciliating Kentucky. "Let Kentucky go," said 
Dempster, "and we will guarantee you, from Illi- 
nois alone, a regiment for every man you lose in 
Kentucky." In an interview with some one a few 
months previous Mr. Lincoln had told the story of 
the two Methodist preachers traveling on horseback 
who were to cross a river. One of them exhibited 
much fear of the crossing long before they came to 
the river. The other becoming tired of these fears 
remarked : " Brother do n't cross the river until we 
get there." So Lincoln said he could only adopt 
policies as they became necessary, and did not desire 
to bother himself with rivers until he came to them. 
Dr. Dempster, in a telling way, referred to Lincoln's 


use of the story, and added : " We would humbly 
suggest, Mr. Lincoln, that we have now come to the 
river, and must cross or stand still." This delega- 
tion visited Washington in August ; the preliminary 
Proclamation of Emancipation was issued in Sep- 

Dr. Dempster combined more than most men the 
metaphysical with the imaginative. He used ad- 
jectives in the most effective manner of any writer 
or speaker we know of. We have never met so 
happy and powerful a use of adjectives phrases in 
any writings whatever as in the writings of Dr. 
Dempster. Abbott and Headly use glittering gen- 
eralities and high-flown phrases; Dempster makes 
every word tell. Since we believe he will be cred- 
ited for this faculty, we append instances, broken 
pieces of marble and gold, from his noble lecture 
structures. At Rockford in 1863 a splendid report 
being offered on the Union war it was moved that 
the report be published in several papers. Dempster 
moved as an addition, "And that it glow in every 
sunbeam that greets the sight." "You need have 
no fear that the crowbar of the geologist will ever 
pry up the Rock of Ages, or the telescope of the 
astronomer discover spots upon the Sun of righteous- 
ness—slavery, that black monster that has coiled 
itself about the vitals of the nation — may God crush 
it forever — matchless heroism — a voice came to the 
smitten persecutor from mid air, attended by a sound 
from beyond where the thunder sleeps, by a light 
outvying the Asiatic sun — fearful midnight gloom — 
monstrous fable of prelatic succession — the fiery 


chase of ambition kindled thoughts on fire within 
him — every truth that leaps from his opened lips — 
grim edge of battle, fanned by the eternal breath 
that kindled its fires — a heart throbbing and flam- 
ing with restoring love — the eclipse of the soul — 
the soul advances with a momentum which sets the 
soul on fire — bathed in the fire of feeling — it may 
be the cold glitter of the aurora borealis, but never 
the vivifying beam of fervid noon — the minister's is 
a glow which kindles, without crazing his powers — 
a chilling medium to congeal the stream of life — 
the flashing light from the gathered clouds has fol- 
lowed the sleep of the elements — fallen in oblivion 
along the track of ages — that midnight hour of our 
era — earthquake shocks of bloody revolution — ele- 
ments of stupendous energy — -fiery test of wild phi- 
losophy — noonday period — the arch of heaven fails 
to span the globe — bridge slung across this fancied 
gulf — undimmed luster of moral nature — the mighty 
son of Manoah — sunbeams may paint the flowers 
with beauty and enrich the clouds with splendor — 
the division of attention is the grave of enthu- 
siasm — magnitude of peerless powers — like the 
granite peaks of ancient mountains." Every page 
of Dempster's glitters with gems like these. But 
we must hasten to other scenes in which Dempster 
is to take a part. Meantime he sleeps well, and 
hundreds rise up to call him blessed. 

Is it of any account to look upon the person and 
form of Dr. Dempster ? Go with us. In the Au- 
tumn of 1855 we passed into the noon train from 
the depot at Morris, bound for the Rock Island 


Conference. The cars were full of preachers, mem- 
bers of the conference. The train halted at La- 
salle. Just under our window a man from the cars, 
with linen-duster over a swallow-tailed broad-cloth 
coat, was walking briskly back and forth to set the 
blood in motion and enliven the cramped limbs. 
Thin, shriveled, small in stature, with protuberant 
nose, wearing a mussy wig, we saw a man that 
might have been taken for a mummy or an ancient 
Jew. When a neighbor observed that the specter 
was Dr. Dempster we were astounded. The great 
Dr. Dempster, of whom we had heard so much, was 
in our imagination grand in appearance. Had we 
been told that Bishop Ames was Dempster we 
should have met our idea. We found, not long 
after, that under this form of age there was the 
fire of youth. J. V. Watson says : "jGazing upon 
his thin, sallow, flabby cheeks, his mouth, which 
shows the marks of time, . . . his only skin-cov- 
ered brow, which projects over piercing, restless 
eyes, like a promontory, we behold a man." He 
was the most easy, intelligent converser in social 
life we ever met with. Never shall we forget a 
half day's intercourse enjoyed with Dr. Dempster. 
During a ride , together we were discussing the 
great preachers he had heard. "After hearing so 
many great men, doctor," we observed, " is it not 
rather a task to listen to common men ? I should 
think you had risen so high in this experience 
you could hardly listen to ordinary men." " I 
should call that coming down," he said. " I 
often hear," he continued, " sermons from our Bib- 


lical students that come to me rich as the bread of 
life." This conversation occurred in the regions of 
Waukegan where spiritualism was rife. The doctor 
advised the writer to attend circles, and, discover- 
ing the processes, be ready to meet the fallacies. He 
pressed this as a duty. We took his advice, and, 
after much observation, adopted views which were 
published in 1858 in the National Magazine, which 
have been generally adopted since. We discovered, 
almost to a certainty, that of the portion of spirit- 
manifestations that is not humbug one-half was 
mesmerism, the other half insanity. The most 
noted medium we ever saw was as evidently insane 
as any person in Bedlam. We have since, on fuller 
information, found that the real manifestations are 
one-third mesmerism, one-third insanity, and the re- 
mainder the effects of drugs — hashish being most 

The Rock River Conference will appreciate this 
venerable member of their body more and more as 
the years roll away and his works show their stu- 
penduous results. His students, looking back adown 
successful careers, will reverently pronounce the 
" old man eloquent " blessed above all others. They 
will go to his tomb, as to a Mecca, to catch inspira- 
tion from memory, and when the trifling world- 
seeker is forgotten of men and angels Dr. Dempster 
will live on, both in earth and in heaven. 




IN a former chapter we said, in 1854 Dr. Dempster 
turned his attention to the West. There Provi- 
dence wonderfully prepared his way before him. A 
poor ragged boy in East Tennessee who became a 
minister, an auctioneer in the marts of Chicago, a 
keeper of a tin store in Eastern New York — these 
are the elements out of which the Garrett Bibli- 
cal Institute is to arise. 

In the Fall of 1835 and Winter of 1836 the 
best place that boys could find to amuse themselves 
through the long Winter evenings in Chicago was 
at an auction-roOm on the corner of Dearborn and 
South Water Streets. A musical man, full of wit 
and curious pranks, there kept throngs in giddy 
merriment as he cried off his goods with the "eu- 
phonious, " Going, going, going." Each day a black 
man, George White by name, dressed fantastically, 
riding an old gray horse and ringing a bell, prome- 
naded the streets, crying, " Auction !" and at night 
the fluent auctioneer would gather in the golden 
coins from the " highest bidders." This auctioneer 
was Augustus Garrett, who thus made money which 
invested became the foundation of the Biblical In- 


stitute. He afterward became the richest man in 
Chicago, and was several times mayor of the city. 
In 1829 Mr. Garrett married Miss Eliza Clark, and 
started West to seek his fortune. A few years after 
marriage the couple removed to Cincinnati, then to 
New Orleans, then to Natchitoches, Texas. While go- 
ing down the Mississippi, to New Orleans, they were 
called to the sad duty of landing for the purpose 
of burying their first born, a daughter of four years 
of age, who died of cholera. At Natchitoches they 
lost a son, which was their only surviving child. 
After this we believe they had no children. In 
1834 they came North, and settled in Chicago. At 
those glorious revival meetings held by Peter R. 
Borein — the Tennessee boy converted — in Clark 
Street Church, in 1839, Augustus Garrett and his 
wife were converted, and immediately united with 
the Methodist Church. Mrs. Garrett remained a 
faithful member until her death, in 1855. Mr. Gar- 
rett returned to the world in a year or two, and be- 
came prodigiously wicked. Under the labors of 
W. M. D. Ryan he professed religion again in 1846, 
and frequently, in the basement of the old brick 
church, he would give simple, child-like recitals, 
that would melt the whole congregation to tears. 
One evening, when raising money to finish the base- 
ment, he oifered to cover every five dollars given 
with another five, and in this way he gave seventy- 
five dollars. He had vicious habits, the most un- 
conquerable, and in a few months again fell away, 
and in 1848 died, leaving no word of encourage- 
ment to those left behind him. Mrs. Garrett was 


born near Newbury, New York, March 5, 1805, and 
had in her youth the advantages of a religious 
training. After joining the Church, in 1839, she 
became a consistent Christian, and though living in 
the best house in the city and visited by the rich 
and gay, she was ever faithful in attendance to 
Church, and was scarcely ever absent from her class. 
For years she was a member of D. M. Bradley's 
class, which met at four o'clock Sunday afternoon. 
The writer is nearly the only member of that old 
class that survives. At Mr. Garrett's death, in 1848, 
Mrs. Garrett became possessed of one-half of the 
property, and from this time she was solicitous that 
her means should serve the best ends. Grant Good- 
rich had been the attorney of the family, and to him 
Mrs. Garrett made application for aid in making a 
will. From the first she was inclined to the found- 
ing of an educational institution of some sort. Grant 
Goodrich suggested the founding of a school for the 
education of ministers. She observed that such a 
purpose had for some time been the subject of her 
thoughts, and, wishing the judgment of others, she 
concluded to consult her pastor, John Clark. On 
consulting him, he not knowing her views, advised 
the same thing. A few days after, Dr. Kidder, being 
in the city, expressed a desire for a Biblical school 
in the West, and wondered if Mrs. Garrett might not 
be induced to found such a school. Her intention 
being made known, he visited her to encourage her 
in the great purpose. Her old pastor, Hooper Crews, 
also gave the same advice. Thus led by these united 
opinions she concluded Providence indicated such 


a disposition of her property, and accordingly, her 
will was prepared, devoting two-thirds of her means 
to a Biblical institute. 

At her death the property, which consisted ot 
lots and buildings in Chicago, was worth three hun- 
dred thousand dollars. In January, 1854, a few 
months after Mrs. Garrett made her will, Dr. Demp- 
ster visited the West, with the intention of planting 
in this part of the country an institution akin to the 
one at Concord. On arriving at Chicago, he found 
his way had been mysteriously prepared before him. 
While Mrs. Garrett lived she would only accept four 
hundred dollars a year for her own support, wishing 
to leave all for so noble a purpose. On the 23d of 
November, 1855, Mrs. Garrett passed away from 
this world. After a short sickness of but a day or 
two she died. In dying she lifted up her hands in 
holy triumph, exclaiming : " Bless the Lord, O, my 
soul !" and without a struggle slept ! On Sunday 
she was in her place at Church ; on Thursday gone ! 

On the 26th of December, 1853, a meeting of 
the Church in Chicago was called to devise means 
to set the institute in motion. A committee was 
appointed to secure the immediate erection of a 
building, and to provide means for sustaining the 
school. A suitable building was commenced in 
July, 1854, and in January, 1855, the first term of 
the school was opened, with John Dempster, William 
Goodfellow, and W. P. Wright as teachers. The 
first term commenced with four students and closed 
with sixteen. The second commenced with twelve 
and closed with nineteen. In 1857 D. P. Kidder, 


D. D., and H. Bannister, D. D., were elected as 
professors, with Dr. Dempster in charge. 

In June, 1864, Dr. Miner Raymond, who had 
won lasting laurels as principal of Wilbraham Sem- 
inary, was elected to fill Dr. Dempster's place. At 
the session of the Rock River Conference in 1854 
the institute was cordially received to its confidence, 
and the preachers pledged their "patronage and 
support of the noble and evangelical enterprise in 
which they (our brethren of Chicago) have en- 
gaged." But while such resolutions were passed 
there were many misgivings among the members as 
to the usefulness of the new scheme. It was feared 
that the young preachers would issue from the halls 
of the institute flippant, dry, sermon readers. Even 
Dr. Eddy, who was then a contributor to our pe- 
riodicals, as late as 1857, gave a word of condemna- 
tion in an article on Spurgeon in the Ladies' Re- 
pository. But the battle of the institutes had mainly 
been fought out in the East, and the West surren- 
dered at discretion. The success of the students 
has belied all fears. They have become our most 
successful men. A large number of the present 
members of the Rock River Conference have been 
improved by attendance at the institute. Among 
the former and present members of the conference 
who have been students in the institute, and all 
pupils of the matchless Dempster, are C. H. Fowler, 
W. A. Smith, Joseph Wardel, James S. Chadwick, 
D. J. Holmes, B. T. Vincent, George Richardson, 
Robert Bently, J. W. Martin, and N. H. Axtel. 
The first class graduated in 1858. Its members 



were J. E. Ayers, G. W. Havermale, Osmon Hutching, 
E. W. Jeffries, J. W. Sovereign, and M. H. Twiggs; 
the class of 1859 were A. L. Cooper, J. W. Waugh ; 
of 1860, Wayne Carver, R. N. Earhart, W. H Glass, 
Alexander Hall, and Warren Taplin. Those in 
italics became members of the Rock River Con- 

The history of Methodism in Evanston is en- 
veloped in the history of its schools. From the 
first professors and students have united in Church 
fellowship, and as soon as the town was laid out it 
became the country home of many Chicago Metho- 
dists. A plain church to serve for a time was built 
in 1856, and ever since there have been well sus- 
tained Church interests with occasional revivals. 

The period we are sketching from 1850 to 1855 
gave us another agency that has been a thing of 
note among us. The Northwestern Christian Advo- 
cate began its career in January, 1853. Zion's Her- 
ald, the first Methodist newspaper in the world, was 
commenced under the patronage of a few preachers 
and laymen in Boston in 1823. Before this there 
was both in England and America a monthly mag- 
azine. In 1789 a monthly paper called the Ar- 
minian Magazine was started in Philadelphia. It 
terminated in two years. In 1818 the Methodist 
Magazine, since changed to the Quarterly Review, 
was commenced. Zion's Herald was a small paper 
nineteen by thirty inches in size, five columns on a 
page. The Advocate and Journal was the same size 
at its commencement — not one-half as large as in 
1885. After three years the Herald was sold to the 


book agents, who issued the first number of the 
Advocate and Journal (New York Advocate) Sep- 
tember 9, 1826. This paper was at once a success. 
In a short time its subscription list was larger than 
that of any paper then in the United States, having 
about twenty-five thousand subscribers. B. Badger 
was the editor of the Advocate at the beginning. 
Nathan Bangs, however, wrote the editorials. The 
New York Advocate continued to be the great offi- 
cial paper of the whole Church until 1834, when 
the Western book agents began to publish at Cin- 
•cinnati the Western Christian Advocate, which at 
once became the Methodist paper for the great West. 
This began its career May 2, 1834, with T. A. Morris, 
editor. This paper was as familiar among us in 
Illinois previous to 1853 as " household words." 

J. V. Watson, the first editor of the North- 
western, was born in London in 1814, and came to 
the United States when but six years of age with 
his father's family, who settled near Cincinnati. 
Watson spent most of his early days on a farm, 
with few educational advantages. But his desire 
for knowledge was from the first an unquenchable 
thirst. Desire is generally accomplishment. Where 
there is a will there is a way, and every book in 
reach was read and the teachings treasured. Young 
James was converted in 1828, when he was but four- 
teen, under the ministry of E. G. Wood, and in 
March, 1832, was licensed to exhort, and the same 
year was received into the Missouri Conference. 
He traveled two years in Missouri on circuits, hun- 
dreds of miles in extent, where by exposure to rains 


and swamps he laid the foundation for the spasmodic 
asthma, a disease which after he had battled with it 
for years ended his life. His father dying, he re- 
turned to Indiana, where the family was now living, 
and joined the Indiana Conference. He traveled 
Vevay, Lawrenceburg, Franklin, and Columbus 
Circuits in Indiana, and was appointed to White 
Pigeon, Niles, Adrian, Marshall, Northville, and 
Detroit in Michigan. During this time he was sev- 
eral times laid aside for ill health, and finally, in 
1847, ceased to travel altogether. He settled at 
Adrian, Michigan, and to support his family pub- 
lihed a small paper called the Family Visitor, de- 
voted to temperance and general morals. After a 
time he, with E. Q. Fuller as a partner, began the 
Michigan Christian Advocate. At the General Con- 
ference of 1852 a Book Depository, under charge 
of the Methodist Book Concern, was authorized to 
be established at Chicago, and the publication of 
the Northwestern Advocate ordered. J. V. Watson 
was elected editor, with the understanding that his 
Michigan Advocate was to be the basis of the pub- 
lication. This was in May ; the first paper was is- 
sued in January, 1853, from No. 63 Randolph Street. 
Some years previous Mr. Watson had taken a young 
man into his office as clerk, agent, and general 
assistant, and finally as partner. This man he 
brought to Chicago as assistant editor of the North- 
western. Watson's mind was alive and thoughtful, 
but in body he was very feeble. The disease before 
mentioned ever kept him a prisoner to pain, and 
many of the editorials were written down by his 


assistant, E. Q. Fuller, dictated by Watson in the 
intervals of spasms and pains as he lay on his couch. 
At the time when the Northwestern was commenced 
there were besides the magazines and Quarterly, the 
Advocate and Journal, at New York ; Zion's Herald, 
at Boston ; the Northern Christian Advocate, at Au- 
burn ; the Pittsburg Advocate, and the Western Ad- 
vocate, at Cincinnati. The editor, living by force 
of will, gave his best energies to the work assigned 
him, and the paper was popular from the outset. 
By the time the first conferences met in 1853 it had 
"five thousand subscribers, and it paid its way the 
first year. In May, 1855, it had ten thousand sub- 
scribers, and has since at one time run up to about 
twenty-nine thousand. J. V. Watson was returned 
to the editorship in 1856, when with new energy, 
aided by the ever ready Fuller, he continued his 
work. The editor and assistant worked together so 
long they became men of one mind, and there never 
arose a difference of opinion but once. John Luc- 
cock, of the Central Illinois Conference, made in 
some paper — we have forgotten what — a severe and 
ungenerous attack on Watson. It was irritating, 
and Watson fearing it might prejudice the members 
of the General Conference against him, prepared to 
reply. Fuller strove to persuade Watson that si- 
lence was the better reply. But the General Con- 
terence was at hand ; there were already other can- 
didates for the editorship in the field, and Watson's 
bread for the time depended upon his position. 
With aching heart he groaned under the severe 
words of Mr. Luccock, and unwisely strove to parry 


the strokes. It was needless, and the assistant, for 
once, was right, and the editor wrong. But Dr. 
Watson's work was drawing near its completion. 
He died on the 17th of October, 1856, leaving 
an article on missions uncompleted, which he had 
been dictating the day of his death. He re- 
tained during these years his membership in the 
Detroit Conference, and, though working in our 
limits, was never a member of the Rock River Con- 
ference. Watson, as editor, succeeded in gaining 
the love of all his readers. No editor of the paper 
can expect to live personally so fully in the hearts 
of the people as did Dr. Watson, and when the news 
of his departure was heard there went up the voice 
of mourning from the whole Methodist Church in 
the West. W. P. Jones, the talented president of 
the Female College, wrote for the Advocate a 
requiem, which found responses in thousands of 
souls. We can not forbear quoting from those 
lines : 

"A dirge, 0, a dirge, through the North-west is borne ; 

Not feeble and faint, as if felt by the few, 
But swelling and deep as when myriads mourn, 

As the sigh which the heart of a Nation breathes through. 
There 's a widow's loud wail and the orphan's sad cry, 

The sound of a hearse and the pall-bearers' tread, 
And the toll of the death-bells, like sobs in the sky, 

And the moaning of thousands that follow the dead. 

The watchmen of Zion tread slowly the walls, 
And their eyes have grown dim 'neath a curtain of tears, 

And the strong men of Science bow low in their halls 
As the passing lament sadly falls on their ears ! 

He is gone, he is gone, the fond guide of our youth. 
The light of our councils has passed from our sight; 


A hero has fallen, a soldier of truth, 
A prince in the armies of freedom and right. 

The types click a requiem all through the land ; 

Yea, the press tolls a knell for the nation to hear, 
And the wail for the wreck of the death angel's wand 

Is bursting from millions afar off and near. 
A moan on the south wind bleathes plaintive and low, 

From the slave for whose rights he so nobly hath plead ; 
And the east wind comes laden with soul-burdened woe, 

From the missions for whose weal his last words were said. 

To westward wronged Kansas lamenteth the fall 

Of her eloquent pleader so hushed into clay. 
And the North ! 't was his home — 0, bereaved are we all. 

Not a heart but is craped and wears sackcloth to-day. 
Here his coffin, his widow, his orphans we view; 

And a dirge, aye, a dirge, through the North-west is borne, 
Not feeble and faint, as if breathed by the few, 

But swelling and deep, for our myriads mourn. 

He toiled at his post till the death sleep came on ; 
Why would ye awake him ? Let him rest till the morn !" 

The book committee met soon after Dr. Wat- 
son's death, and Thomas M. Eddy, then presiding 
elder on Indianapolis District, was chosen to the 
editorial office. He was returned to this office in 
1860, and again in 1864, by the General Confer- 
ence. Dr. Eddy was the son of Augustus Eddy, 
an old and efficient minister, who has filled important 
positions on charges and as presiding elder in Ohio 
and Indiana. Thomas M. was born, we believe, in 
Cincinnati, at least in Ohio, about 1823, and was 
admitted to the Indiana Conference, in which his 
father, at the time, was a member, in 1842, and ap- 


pointed junior preacher with Amos Bussey on Man- 
chester Circuit. His appointments thereafter were, 
in 1843, junior on Canaan Circuit, with his father 
as presiding elder; 1844, in the same relation on 
Lexington Circuit. Verily, young men did not 
then graduate to the first charges in a year. Slower 
in growth longer to remain, is a rule. In 1845 
Eddy was alone, a rising man at Rising Sun ; in 
1846-47, in charge of Vevay Circuit, just twelve 
years after J. V. Watson was on the same charge ; in 
1848 and 1849, at Jefferson ville ; in 1850-51, at Third 
Street, Madison; in 1852-53, at Brookville, in the 
South-eastern Indiana Conference. In 1854, to avoid 
passing into the ranks of the ancient and honorable 
superannuates, he took a Bible agency, having charge, 
if we mistake not, of the whole State of Indiana. 
In 1855 he passed into the ancient, laborious, hon- 
orable, and berated rank of presiding elders, doing 
his part to maintain the dignity of the fraternity 
on the Indianapolis District, from which position 
he was called to the editorship in the last days 
of 1856. From his youth Dr. Eddy took to scrib- 
ling, and in the Western Advocate, from 1842 to 
1856, there are frequent contributions, witty, spicy, 
wise, and otherwise, superscribed by the tell-tale 
letters, " T. M. E." The first that he came to our 
notice was on this wise : Dr. Tefft, some time in 
1849, published a notice of a Greek Lexicon iff the 
Repository, on which he remarked that he could not 
see how a preacher could get along without the knowl- 
edge of Greek. For this Dr. Tefft was taken to 
task in the columns of the Western by Dr. Trimble 


and " T. M. E." Teflt answered them, saying 
that such and such things had been objected to by 
Dr. Trimble, and also by " a young man some- 
where in Indiana." After this, at times, Eddy sub- 
scribed his contributions with the significant epi- 
thet, "A Young Man Somewhere in Indiana." 
After Dr. Clark became, in 1853, editor of the 
Repository, Mr. Eddy began to be a regular con- 
tributor, and by Dr. Clark's request wrote a series 
of very interesting articles, giving a connected sum- 
mary of travels in all parts of the world. At the 
•General Conference, at Indianapolis in 1856, when 
the editor of the Northwestern was being bal- 
loted for, Dr. Eddy received sixty-nine votes, while 
Dr. Watson received one hundred and thirty-two. 
Mr. Eddy was not elected, but the vote pointed to 
the coming man, and directed the book committee 
to him when they were called to fill Mr. Watson's 

Dr. Eddy at once took a transfer to the Rock 
River Conference, and was present for the first time 
at Rockford, in 1857. At his first appearance he 
did not make the best impression. There was 
something flippant, dictatorial, and sarcastic in his 
manner that grated on the feelings of those who 
look for supreme dignity in connection with talent. 
But he not only grew in the esteem of the members 
of the conference, but really improved in caliber as 
a man, and the weight of years added the gravity 
of wisdom. In 1860, 1864, and 1868, he was chosen 
to represent the conference in the General Con- 
ference. „ 7 


In 1864 Rev. Arthur Edwards, of the Detroit 
Conference, became associate editor of the North- 
western. The circulation of the paper has steadily 
increased, and in 1864 it reached twenty-nine thou- 
sand five hundred copies, and would have gone much 
higher in 1865 had not the rise in the price of paper 
caused the agents to put its price up to three dollars. 
It was one dollar and fifty cents in 1862. Arthur 
Edwards became editor in 1872. 

At the same time that the Northwestern began 
its career, a Book Depositoey was established in 
Chicago. In 1773, in the first minutes of American 
Methodism ever published, the following item ap- 
pears : " None of the preachers are to reprint any 
of Mr. Wesley's books without his authority (when 
it can be gotten) and the consent of their brethren. 
Robert Williams to sell the books he has already 
printed, but to print no more, unless under the 
above restrictions." What was the cause of this 
order? Jesse Lee tells us that, previous to the 
passage of this rule, " Robert Williams, one of the 
preachers, had reprinted many of Mr. Wesley's 
books, and had spread them through the country, 
to the great advantage of religion. The sermons 
which he printed in small pamphlets had a good 
effect, . . . and they opened the way in many places 
for our preachers to be invited to preach where they 
had never been before." But, notwithstanding the 
good that had been done, it was necessary for 
the preachers to be united in the one scheme of 
printing and selling, so that the profits might be 
divided among them, for in those days they divided 



their receipts, even to wedding fees. Robert Will- 
iams had begun a scheme, which grew into the 
Methodist Book Concern. In 1787 provision was 
made for the printing of books, most of which print- 
ing was done in New York. In 1789 among the 
appointments we read this : " Philadelphia, John 
Dickins, book steward." Philip Cox is simply ap- 
pointed " book steward." The work Mr. Cox was 
expected to do was to act in the capacity of a mod- 
ern colporteur. The Minutes of 1794 say: "His 
last services were great in circulating so many 
hundred books." 

John Dickins began his " Book Concern " in 1789, 
with a capital of six hundred dollars, his own money 
lent to the Church. The first entry in the books 
of the institution is in his own handwriting, dated 
August 17, 1789, showing that the first book issued 
was Wesley's abridged translation of Thomas a 
Kempis's " Imitation of Christ." Dickins also began 
this year the first volume of the Arminian Maga- 
zine, a mere reprint of the English publication of 
that name. Before the year closed he published the 
Discipline, Hymn Book, Baxter's Saints' Rest, and 
Wesley's Primitive Physic. 

This was the beginning of those Methodist pub- 
lishing houses which excel any thing in the world 
of their kind. There were in 1865 two publish- 
ing houses, five depositories, a capital of eight hun- 
dred thousand dollars, twelve editors, five hundred 
clerks and operatives, with nearly thirty thousand 
different publications on the catalogue, and fourteen 
periodicals with a circulation averaging a million 


copies per month. The sales of the New York 
Concern alone, from March, 1854, to March, 1855, 
amounted to six hundred and thirty-one thousand 
dollars. In 1820 a publishing house for the West 
was established in Cincinnati, with Martin Ruter 
as agent. The books for many years were brought 
in wagons across the mountains to Pittsburg, and 
shipped down the Ohio. The Depository ordered 
at the General Conference in May, 1852, was opened 
in Chicago in a brick building on the north side of 
Randolph Street, between Dearborn and State Street, 
at " No 63," under the care of that affable gentle- 
man, William M. Doughty, who came from a con- 
nection of fifteen years as clerk with the Book 
Concern at Cincinnati. The Depository prospered 
under Doughty's careful management from the be- 
ginning. March 31, 1854, after it had been open 
fourteen months, the agent reported thirty-four 
thousand dollars' worth as the amount of book sales, 
and eighteen thousand dollars' worth as the amount 
of periodical sales. The sales amounted to five 
thousand dollars in the first two months. "Sixty- 
three Randolph" was a two-story brick, with editors' 
office above and book-store below. In 1857 the 
agents put up a four-story building at " 66 Wash- 
ington Street," and that year the Book Concern 
and the Northwestern office were moved to the ex- 
cellent quarters occupied until the fire of 1871. 
In 1863 the concern began to do its own press 

For ten years the " forms " had been carted about 
town in search of a press, liable to many a jolting 


accident. Tired of this dependence, in 1864 a Hoe 
double cylinder press, capable of printing three 
thousand sheets an hour, was set up, and in 1865 
they printed, folded, and labeled by machinery. In 
June, 1864, William M. Doughty retired to enter 
other business, and Luke Hitchcock, the assistant 
agent at Cincinnati, moved to Chicago to superin- 
tend the rising concern. Mr. Doughty was a pleas- 
ant gentleman, a competent business man, who won 
friends whenever he came in contact with the 
preachers of the North-west. New hands, new 
•energies, and new times will give us in time the 
Northwestern Book Concern. It would be a curious 
thing to know what the future editors and agents 
are now doing. Some boy in some nook of the 
world now, it may be, reading the Northwestern is 
to arise and govern its issues. Would he not trem- 
ble if he knew his destiny? 

' But we have walked around these monuments 
of literature long enough. Turn we again to the 
"regular work." There are other heroes besides 
professors and editors. 




THE conference met at Rock Island in 1855, 
Bishop Janes presiding. The doings were 
regularly reported in the Chicago Democratic Press 
(now Tribune) by the writer of these veritable pages, 
it being the first time the conference was reported. 
Since then the doings have been regularly reported. 
Dr. Dempster and his teachers appeared to represent 
the new institute at Evanston, and by request of the 
conference Dr. Dempster lectured to the preachers 
every day at one and a half P. M. in the Baptist 
Church. The first lecture was delivered on Thurs- 
day, and was introductory to a course on pulpit 
speaking. The points made were, The right use of 
words, and importance of effort in attaining pulpit 
acceptability. His thoughts were grand. On Fri- 
day he spoke of the end to be attained by oratory, 
which is, to move the will. The steps to be pur- 
sued are, to convince the understanding, excite the 
imagination, stir up the sensibilities, creating desires 
and hope. On Sunday morning, at seven o'clock, 
the doctor gave his sermon on Divine Providence. 
It was read in rather a dull way, but created a fine 
impression. It was the first time we ever heard 
people shout, and saw them weep at mere thought. 

CONFERENCES OF 1855-1856. 439 

Among the visitors was Jesse T. Peck, who 
preached with great acceptance. Bishop Janes, in 
his address to the deacons, gave out utterances such 
as we never before heard from human lips. The 
conference was a very pleasant one, and memorable 
as the last meeting together of the preachers who 
then constituted the conference, as the next May 
the Central Illinois Conference was organized. At 
this conference four members were brought up 
charged with holding erroneous views. Much ref- 
erence was made to the Biblical Institute and to 
Dr. Dempster, who was the first D. D. the confer- 
ence had ever had among its members. All this 
was irritating to Dr. Dempster, and was, indeed, a 
breach of good manners. At last one of those com- 
plained of said he would agree to whatever views 
Dr. Dempster said were correct. At this, the doc- 
tor arose indignant, remarking that he " hoped the 
conference was not prepared to institute a pope." 
This at once stopped the folly, and never since 
have we had flings at the doctors. 

The preachers received on trial who have filled 
appointments in the bounds of the conference were 
Calvin Brookins, a quiet, useful, pious man, who 
won friends everywhere, and who, if he had had 
good health, would have been one of our most 
worthy men, and who died September 25, 1881; 
George J. Bliss, a small, black-eyed man full of 
snap; James Coleman, born in Maine, educated 
at Greencastle, Indiana, under President Simpson, 
and who possessed a Dempsterian mind, minus the 
imagination, but being uncouth and unsocial in 


manner never showed the real strength there was 
in him; Samuel, Bundock, an Englishman ad- 
vanced in life, of moderate talents, but of accepta- 
bility and usefulness; Thomas H. Hagebty, a 
zealous, good-hearted young man, who was in 1865 
presiding elder in Missouri; J. C. Stover, brother 
of S. Stover, who would have done somewhat had 
he possessed studious habits equal to his will, and 
had not been under Nazarite tuition ; and I. H. 
Grant, a quiet man, slow and sure. Among the 
transfers were W. B. Slaughter, an efficient, 
whole-souled man from the Genesee Conference, 
and Charles P. Bragdon, a man of noted rela- 
tions, who, educated at Cazenovia, had commenced 
traveling in Maine, and had traveled in Massachu- 
setts and kept a book agency in Auburn. He was 
a man of energy and will, zealous for Methodism, 
and withal a little ultra. Whatever he opposed, 
whether it was slavery or tobacco, he opposed as 
though the "old serpent" was in it. He had a hard 
time at Waukegan from 1855 to 1857 with the 
Spiritualists. In 1859 he was appointed to Evans- 
ton, and when the conference met at Chicago in 
1860 he lay near unto death with consumption. 
Not long after conference he died, going up, we 
believe, to the heavenly land. He died January 8, 
1861. Another transfer was D. H. Sherman, who 
while stationed at St. Charles in 1856 had the credit 
of introducing Dr. Redfield into the West, for which 
we do not thank him. W. T. Harlow came this 
year, being chosen principal of Rock River Semi- 
nary. He had been laboring for several years in 

CONFERENCES OF 1856-1856. 441 

the regular work, and had been presiding elder a 
year or two in the Providence Conference. For 
ten years now he molded the lives of young stu- 
dents, and rendered effectual aid to our preachers 
in their work. Joseph S. David, another transfer, 
was raised mostly in Illinois, but when on a visit 
to the East was received into the Wyoming Con- 
ference. A more useful preacher, and a finer spirited, 
there is not in the conference. Francis H. Reed, 
another transfer, came from the Pittsburg Confer- 
ence, and in a year or two went on to Iowa, where 
in 1865 he was presiding elder, and soon after died. 
The new charges were Rockton, Lena, Pleasant 
Valley, Pecatonica, and Wyanet. Rockton was 
laid out as a town as early as 1839, and in 1840 a 
small cjass was organized there, the place being an 
appointment on the Roscoe Circuit. In a year or 
two the appointment was discontinued. The Con- 
gregationalists held the influence in the town, and 
as early as 1850 built a fine stone church. In 1855 
L. S. Walker, then on the Roscoe work, renewed 
the appointment at Rockton. L. Hitchcock, the 
presiding elder, who always kept a watchful eye on 
the rising country, sent a preacher in 1855 to Rock- 
ton Mission. H. W. Richardson, then young in the 
work, and zealous and warm-hearted, was the first 
preacher. Social, religious, and driving, he was the 
man for the place. He soon organized a society, 
and preached in the stone school-house east of the 
town, and sometimes in the school-house on the 
south side. The work prospered, and there was a 
revival in the Winter, and fifty persons were added 


to the Church. In the Summer of 1856 the preacher 
raised a subscription for a church, and a building 
was commenced, but it was a long time before it 
was finished. It was finally dedicated in 1859. 
When completed there was a heavy debt, which 
came near sinking the feeble society. D. W. 
Skelton in 1861 spent three months traveling, striv- 
ing to raise means from abroad, but he made little 
headway, as begging abroad never pays well. 
George Richardson, brother to H. W., was sent on 
in 1861. Young, religious, zealous, he began to 
labor with heart of hope on his first charge. He 
found a feeble class, poor in this world's goods, and 
worse than all much discouraged with a debt of 
eleven hundred dollars on hand. In August, 1862, 
the preacher, aided by the members, got up an ex- 
cursion to Camp Douglas, Chicago. There were 
fifteen thousand Fort Donelson prisoners there to 
attract, and excursions were a new thing. The 
train set out from Rockton with eighteen cars, all 
of which were filled at the first two stations, and 
hundreds were left behind along the route. It was 
a grand success. The profits amounted to eight 
hundred and fifty dollars. Another excursion to 
Savannah and across the Mississippi River in 1863 
amounted to one hundred and twenty dollars profits, 
which with a few subscriptions cleared off" the debt 
so that the conference year closed with a society 
cheerful, religious, and prosperous, and free from 
debt, worshiping in the neatest church in town, 
and a Sunday-school averaging eighty in attendance. 
There was a wide-spreading revival in 1862, which 

CONFERENCES OF 1855-1856. 443 

brought into the Church many prominent members. 
H. W. Richardson raised the subscription in 1856, 
and his brother George in 1863 paid up the debts 
on the church and set the society free to pursue a 
useful course. How fitting is the right man in the 
right place. 

Many new charges and new names began to ap- 
pear at this time as a result of the new railways. 
In 1850 there was perhaps forty miles of railroad 
in the bounds of the conference ; in 1856 nearly all 
the roads now running in our bounds were completed 
and in running order. Ever since the railway sta- 
tions have been forming the head-quarters of new ap- 
pointments. The old classes of the country circuits 
moved to the nearest stations, and building churches 
became independent charges. Lena, Pecatonica, 
and Wyanet were instances of this change this 
year. Many of these stations, as Polo, arose near 
where there had been appointments from the earli- 
est day ; others, as Ogle and Mendota, grew up on 
the prairies, where there were no settlers until the 
railroads passed through. The last are the most 
numerous. Mendota, one of our best towns, was 
wild unsettled prairie in 1854. The delegates elected 
to General Conference were G. L. Mulfinger, L. 
Hitchcock, J. Dempster, R. Haney, H. Crews, J. 
Luccock, J. Morey, and H. Summers. 

The conference met in 1856, at Aurora, and 
Bishop Simpson first appeared in our midst. Dur- 
ing the session the corner-stone of Clark Seminary 
was laid, addresses on the occasion being deliv- 
ered by Bishops Janes and Simpson. Both efforts 


were the poorest we ever heard from those elegant 
men. Old Rock River Seminary had ever been in 
debt, and had been supported by the contributions 
of preachers and people. The originators of Clark 
Seminary promised us a joint-stock affair that should 
pay its way and make money besides. They under- 
took a grand scheme, named their ambitious insti- 
tution after John Clark, who had died at Aurora 
in 1854, and elected Rev. G. W. Quereau principal — 
a man who was appreciated the more he was known. 
An imposing building was erected, costing seventy- 
five thousand dollars, and, so far as the conference 
knew, all was going on swimmingly. Bu,t at the 
conference of 1862, at Joliet, Aurora preachers strove 
to get the ear of the conference to say somewhat 
about the debts of Clark Seminary. Invidious 
comparisons were made between it and Rock River 
Seminary, and the preachers, expecting to hear of 
its prosperity, had no time to listen to those who 
sought to speak. The conference closed really not 
knowing, nor caring to know, what Stoughton, 
Keyes and Co. wanted to say. Those brethren had 
something to say worth listening to, but it was just 
as well they were not heard, for the conference was 
not in a vein to do any thing about the matter, 
and would no doubt have carelessly rejected the 
whole affair. The truth was, the trustees had failed 
to pay for the building, and were willing to sell to 
the conference a property worth sixty thousand dol- 
lars for twenty-five thousand. The seminary peo- 
ple were discouraged ; Professor Quereau had calls 
to Appleton, which he was about to accept. Through 

CONFERENCES OF 1855-1856. 445 

the agency of E. Q. Fuller, then stationed at Aurora, 
things were put in a shape to be brought before 
conference. Mr. Fuller then set out to visit the 
district conferences, to lay the matter in those 
quiet sessions before the preachers. The preachers 
heard and spoke favorably, and the result was 
the conference at Rockford in 1863 accepted the 
offer of the trustees, appointed a commission to 
take charge of the matter, sent agents into the 
field — Caleb Foster being the main one — and in a 
year five thousand dollars was paid on the price. 
The institution was saved from the hands of the 
Catholics, who offered thirty thousand dollars in 
cash for it. The Church has at Aurora one of the 
finest institutions of the land. The traveler on the 
Burlington cars can see from afar the stone structure 
looming up sightly and grand, an institution edu- 
cating the coming men and women of the Fox 
River Valley. Happy the man who can feel that 
he has interests in such a power for good. 

In accordance with the vote of the. conference in 
1855 the General Conference of May, 1856, divided 
the Rock River Conference into two nearly equal 
portions. The line ran from Rock Island along 
the Rock Island Railway to Ottawa, and thence it 
followed the Illinois and Kankakee Rivers to the 
Indiana line. At Aurora many were missed who 
had been for years among the most active business 
men ; many who had filled acceptably the most im- 
portant positions. Among these were Richard 
Haney, Milton L. Haney, P. T. Rhodes, Francis 
Smith, H. Richey, John P. Brooks, U. J. Giddings, 


Benjamin Applebee, J. J. Hedstrom, John Morey, 
J. Luccock, Z. Hall, and John Chandler. 

The following reports were made, showing the 
strength of the conference in 1856, when it was 
first reduced to the limits we have undertaken to 
represent : Members, thirteen thousand eight hun- 
dred; churches, eighty-nine; parsonages, fifty-four; 
raised for missions, five thousand nine hundred and 
forty dollars. 

The new preachers received were W. P. Weight, 
a highly educated young man, who, for two or three 
years, had been a teacher in the Biblical Institute, 
and who partially failed as a preacher because he 
knew more about Palestine than about circuit 
work ; Marcus H. Plumb, a zealous young man 
from Bridgeport, Connecticut, who has done fine 
work in the conference ; T. L. Olmsted, who 
had the year before been a supply on Sugar Grove 
Circuit, and who has made one of our most useful 
men, being a deep, clear thinker, rather than a 
brilliant preacher; William D. Skelton, a more 
than common man, who filled gracefully positions 
of trust in the conference as well as pulpits in the 
leading towns ; J. T. Hanna, the son of an old- 
fashioned Methodist preacher, but who sometimes, 
in striving to gain credit for being an independent 
thinker, oversteps the bounds of pure thought; and 
Sanford Washburn, tall, energetic, and laborious. 
Those received by readmission or transfer were Dr. 
D. P. Kidder, professor in the Biblical Institute, 
whose name belongs to the Church rather than to 
the Rock River Conference, but who has been a 

CONFERENCES OF 1855-1856. 447 

patron of education in our bounds from the earliest 
day ; William Cone, from New England ; L. A. 
Sanpobd, from the Troy Conference, where he had 
been one of the first preachers; Oscar B. Thayeb, 
who had been received the year before into the Bal- 
timore Conference. A poor boy, he sawed wood, 
took care of horses; did any thing in his New 
England home to gain an education. He became 
a brilliant, reciting preacher, giving off some of the 
most glittering utterance we ever listened to. Small, 
wiry, quick, restless, beautiful in person, driving 
the best horse in the country, he dashed on with 
much success for seven years, and then, in 1864, 
took to the surplice and "Apostolical Succession," 
and began preaching, we know not how successfully, 
among the Episcopalians. 

Another who was received by transfer this year 
was William Goodfellow, who married a daugh- 
ter of Dr. Dempster, and who, with W. P. Wright, 
had been teaching in the institute, and who left in 
1857 to supply the Mission at Buenos Ayres, Dr. 
Dempster established in 1836. 

The new charges were many, most of them the 
new railway stations that had grown up within a 
year or two. Methodism at Woodstock has had a 
slow growth. An appointment was established there 
in 1846 by the preachers on Crystal Lake Circuit, 
and a quarterly-meeting was held in the place, in 
a school-house, January 28, 1848. This was probably 
the first meeting of the kind held in the town. At 
a quarterly-meeting held at Franklinville, April 
29, 1848, a committee was appointed, consisting of 


Mr. Bentley, J. K. Torbut, and M. J. Rider, to es- 
timate the expense of building a church at Wood- 
stock. These worthy brethren may have " estimated 
the expense," but it is certain they never built the 
church. Woodstock continued to be an appoint- 
ment on a circuit until 1856, and from that time, 
the society being feeble, they have been connected 
with and disconnected from other societies until 
1865, when the Church there gave fair promise 
of a permanent life. For some years previous to 
1863 the meetings were held in hired halls, whither 
the people found their way up two nights of stairs. 
Few, however, would go up to a third story unless 
duty pressed, and, though an " upper room" may be a 
good place to pray and gain strength in, we must 
go out among the people to do much good. Will- 
iam A. Smith was sent to Belden and Woodstock 
in 1862. Not long after he entered upon the work 
he learned that the Baptist society were willing to 
sell their church for one thousand five hundred dol- 
lars. They had built quite a convenient house, but, 
being few in number, were unable to pay for it. 
It was too bad to turn them back to the hall, 
but it was their own offer. Brother Smith suc- 
ceeded in raising sufficient to procure the deed, and 
a day was set for reopening. Dr. Eddy was in- 
vited out to perform the services. The day arrived, 
the house was crowded, but no Eddy appeared. A 
telegram announced that he had missed the train, 
but would be along at 2 P. M. The present writer 
was picked out of the crowd and put unwillingly 
into the pulpit, where he strove to preach from 

CONFERENCES OF 1855-1856. 449 

Nehemiah, vi, 2, 3. Dr. Eddy came at 2 o'clock, 
and preached to a tearful-eyed congregation the 
best sermon we have ever heard from him. The 
money lacking, whatever the amount was, was 
speedily raised, and the house entered for occupa- 
tion by a joyful people. The service just named 
was on January 20, 1863. In the winter of 1864, 
under W. A. Cross, a gracious revival brought many 
new and happy souls into the Church, so that the 
following conference year was commenced with a 
society that promised success. 

Winnebago charge, in 1859, included West- 
field and the Haisington neighborhood. Barton 
H. Cartwright commenced a church at Winnebago 
in 1855, which was so far completed in 1856 that the 
basement was used for worship. The house was 
finished and dedicated in 1860. Westfield is one 
of the oldest Methodist points in that part of the 
country, where there has been preaching ever since 
1840. Brother Cartwright commenced a church 
here also in 1855, which was finished in 1856 un- 
der the direction ,of Boyd Lowe. It was a neat 
brick, and was dedicated by C. M. Woodard, May 
18th. He used Genesis, xxviii, 17, for a text. 

Marengo became a station in 1856, and the east- 
ern portion of the circuit was set off and called 
Harmony, after a Church eight miles east of Ma- 
rengo. At this point there has been a class and 
regular preaching ever since 1839. A church was 
built in 1855. The appointments of Harmony 
Circuit in 1856 were Harmony, Huntley, Hamp- 
shire, East Prairie, and Coon Creek. There has 



been little change in the extent of the circuit 

Lane, now Rochelle, is becoming one of the 
best points in the conference. When L. S. Walker 
was on the Lighthouse Point Circuit in 1843 he 
had a regular appointment at Hickory Grove, prob- 
ably a half mile from Lane. The appointment was 
kept up with more or less regularity until the rail- 
road reached the place. In 1854, when the ter- 
minus of the road was there, the preaching was 
held in a passenger car, which remained there over 
Sabbath. The Lane Mission of 1856, which re- 
ceived John Nate as preacher, included Mt. Pleas- 
ant, near Ogle, and Jefferson Grove. The next 
year, when J. T. Hanna was on the circuit, there 
were appointments at Dement and Broady's Grove. 
In 1859, while C. Brookins was on the charge, the 
people set about building a church, which was so far 
completed the society worshiped in the basement 
during the Winter of 1860. Previous to this the 
meetings were held in a small frame school-house. 
The church was not completed so that it could be 
dedicated until 1862; then Dr. Eddy was called out 
to work in his most telling line. When once a 
church edifice is built in a community the progress 
of a society becomes established, and unless there 
be peculiarly trying times the course of a society 
is upward. 

Franklin in 1856 had but two appointments; 
they were Ogle and Franklin. The preaching at 
Franklin was in a school-house; at Ogle, in a room 
above a store. H. L. Martin preached at Franklin 

CONFERENCES OF 1855-1856. 451 

when on the Lee Center Circuit in 1853, and in 
1855 when on Lighthouse Circuit. 

Fulton is on the Mississippi River, and strives 
to be a nourishing town. Benjamin Close built a 
neat, sensible little eight-hundred-dollar church there 
in 1859. The society has always been small. 

In 1854 it was wild prairie where Mendota now 
stands. In 1855 it was included in Lamoille Cir- 
cuit, and U. P. Golliday preached there. There was 
at the time a class of thirty or more. The preacher 
secured three lots, and made a call through the Ad- 
vocate for donations to build a church. We presume 
he never received enough to build a martin house. 
In 1856, when the place was set off as a station, 
Boyd Lowe was appointed to the charge. The meet- 
ings were held in halls until 1862, when, after long 
trial and slow work, a neat church was completed 
and dedicated. For several years Mendota was the 
headquarters of the district, and is yet to be a ra- 
diating point for Methodism. 

Sandwich, another station on the Burlington 
Railway, was one of the points on the Little Rock 
Circuit in 1847. The old Somonauk appointment 
of 1835 was within two or three miles of Sandwich. 
In 1847 O. W. Munger, who was then on Little 
Rock Circuit, organized a class which met at a red 
school-house, which stood on the present site of the 
town. The members in 1852 were Jacob Hall, 
Luna Hall, Eliza Davis, Dorcas Arnold, Mary A. 
Dennis, Charlotte Brooks, Eucla Gage, whose hus- 
band was afterwards one of the principal builders 
of the Somonauk Church, Garrett Arnold, J. F. 


Wilkins, Matilda Wilkins, Kelsey Salisbury, Lydia 
Sailsbury, John Renton, Isabel Nixon, and Charles 
Westfall. A church was built in 1855 and dedi- 
cated the 25th of November of that year. , It cost 
three thousand five hundred dollars. There were but 
five male members when it was commenced. Sias 
Bolles gave them his favorite dedication sermon on, 
" Freely ye have received, freely give." One thou- 
sand dollars was wanted ; Mr. Bolles raised twelve 
hundred dollars. A protracted meeting followed, 
continuing six weeks, carried on by A. S. W. Mc- 
Causland, during which twenty-six joined the 
Church. There was a still greater work in 1857 
when D. L. Winslow was on the circuit, resulting 
in the conversion of fifty souls. 

The point which gave name to Millbeook 
Circuit (which became Plattville in 1863) is a coun- 
try neighborhood six miles south of Yorkville, at 
Hollenback's Grove, in Kendall County, where ever 
since 1834 there has been a society and regular 
preaching. It was then on Fox River Mission, 
and finally went to Milford and Newark Circuits. 

In the Fall of 1834 Mr. Hollenback, Burns, 
Harris, Ackerly, Bullard, and R. W. Cams, who 
came from South Carolina that Fall, lived there. 
The meetings were held in Royal Bullard's house 
until 1834; then they were moved to R. W. Carns's 
log cabin. After a time meetings were held in a 
log school-house on Mr. Carns's place. About 
1842 a better school-house was erected, in which 
the circuit preachers preached. In 1857 a small 
church, twenty-eight by forty-two feet, was built on 

CONFERENCES OF 1855-1856. 453 

R. W. Carns's farm, costing two thousand three 
hundred dollars, which was dedicated by J. C. 
Stoughton, October 25, 1857; text, Psalm cxxii, 1: 
" I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into 
the house of the Lord." The Plattville Circuit in 
1865 had appointments at Millbrook, Plattville, and 
at Kendall School-house. The country comprising 
this circuit was until lately away from the railroads, 
and remained from year to year about the same. 
It is one of the ancient and honorable circuits, of 
which so few remain in the conference. 

In 1836 there was an Apple River Circuit, 
which embraced all the country in Jo Daviess 
County, except Galena. The headquarters of this 
work were at Elizabeth. As the country became 
settled that old circuit was broken up into charges 
of smaller compass, and the name soon disappeared 
from the list. In 1848 there was a circuit called 
Wapello, which embraced the country around Ap- 
ple River Station. In the Spring of 1848 several 
Methodist families moved into this neighborhood. 
In the Fall of that year Samuel B. Smith, who was 
on the Wapello work, had regular appointments 
in Mr. Fleharty's house, a half mile east of the 
station. A class was soon formed, with Joseph 
Ennas as leader. About the year 1850 Robert 
Levitt bought an old log-house, which was moved 
to a point about a half mile north of the depot, 
and rebuilt on the west side of the road. This be- 
came the school-house and preaching-place, and 
there was regular circuit preaching there until the 
class was formed down in the village. The ap- 


pointment was filled by preachers on the Council 
Hill and Shullsburg Circuits. The Central Rail- 
road reached the place some time in 1855, and at 
once a small village began to grow up, called Ap- 
ple River Station. Jacob Hartman was on the 
Warren Circuit from 1854 to 1855. In the Sum- 
mer of 1855 he went over one Sunday afternoon 
and rallied the people for preaching under a tree 
in the south part of town. This is thought to be 
the first sermon at the station. In 1857 Apple 
River Mission appeared on the Minutes. William 
Taylor was supplied to the work. The charge in- 
cluded all the country south-west nearly to Eliza- 
beth. In 1858 Simpson Guyer was appointed to 
the work. While he was here a general revival 
occurred, bringing in almost every person around. 
During this year the church was commenced. In 
the Spring of 1858 T. F. Hastie, that noble man 
who had just come to the place as station agent, 
began a Sunday-school in the railroad office. In 
the Winter the school was moved to the old stone 
school-house, where the preaching was also held. 
In 1860 the church was finished and opened for 
dedication. Peter Cartwright, the old hero, was se- 
cured for the dedication services. The house was 
packed, for the fame of this Peter of the nineteenth 
century always drew crowds. From that time the 
society entered upon a prosperous career. In 1863 
a very comfortable parsonage was erected. For 
many years the Church was burdened with a heavy 
debt. In the Spring of 1869 the last dollar was 
raised and the debt closed up. From the first un- 

CONFERENCES OF 1855-1856. 455 

til 1870 T. F. Hastie was the more than commonly 
efficient Sunday-school superintendent. 

Among the earliest workers of Apple River was 
Robert Levitt. He was born in Yorkshire, Eng- 
land, in 1807, and came to this country and settled in 
Ohio in 1831. There he was converted and brought 
into the Methodist Episcopal Church. He went to 
Apple River in 1845, where he became a member of 
the first class organized there. He had great en- 
ergy of character and uprightness in dealing, 
and was a devoted Christian. With many of the 
members of his family around his bed he departed 
hence November 10, 1882. 

In the days from 1861 to 1883 every Apple 
River preacher was cheered by that old Wesleyan 
saint, Mrs. Mary Drew. She was born in Cornwall, 
England, in 1792. In 1808 she gave herself to 
Christ and the Wesleyan Church. In 1861 she 
went to Apple River, a guest in the home of her 
daughter, Mrs. Captain John Maynard, where she 
abode until at the end of seventy-five years in the 
Church she went to her brighter home December 8, 
1883. Her life was sunshine ; her end peace. 




IN 1857 the conference convened in Rockford for 
the second time, and held its sessions in the 
Court Street Church, with Bishop Scott as president 
for the second time. The conference was held on 
the east side in 1849, and Bishop Scott presided at 
Chicago in 1853. His first appearance before the 
conference was in 1849, when he was book agent 
at New York. Here in 1857 we were permitted 
to greet our editor, T. M. Eddy, for the first time. 
He made his debut in a wagon a mile west of town 
as he introduced the important item of breaking 
ground for the famous Rockford Wesleyan Semi- 
nary, which ever since has stood sublime a castle 
in the air. The editor gave the crowd a fine speci- 
men of speech-making and of spade handling. E. 
Q. Fuller, F. P. Cleveland, and T. R. Satterfield 
were received on trial. 

Festus P. Cleveland, a cousin of President 
Cleveland, is a graduate of West Point, and has 
been one of our most popular preachers. He was 
the first man in the conference to remain three years 
after the three-year rule was adopted. He has been 
a delegate once or twice, and has been a presiding 
elder three or four years. T. R. Satterfield is a 


cheerful-hearted Virginian, robust in form, and 
orotund in language. The transfers of 1857 were : 
S. G. Latheop, who from a beardless boy preacher 
had grown up to prominence in the Oneida Con- 
ference, and who filled most acceptably three of our 
best appointments — Indiana Street, Dixon, and Jol- 
iet. He subsided into an agency, the burial ground 
of so many of our preachers, and died in the year 
1884. William M. D. Ryan, as clever as ever, 
who after an absence of ten years returned to build 
Wabash Avenue Church ; Aaron Cross, mild and 
gentle in disposition and firm in purpose, who had 
done effectual work for years in the Oneida Con- 
ference, and who had given two or three efficient 
sons to the ministry. W. P. Grey, an old Troy 
Conference man, popular above most as a preacher ; 
E. M. Boring, who had been pastor, teacher, and 
presiding elder in Ohio, and who has not labored 
in vain in this conference ; Joseph Hartwell, 
another Oneida man, who was presiding elder for 
a year in that conference ; Ziba S. Kellogg, a re- 
tiring man from Wyoming Conference, who did 
much good on the charges where he labored, hav- 
ing some of the best of revivals ; L. L. Knox, a 
prominent college professor East and West ; Z. D. 
Paddock, yet another Oneida man, a graduate of 
a college, a splendid revival and camp-meeting 
preacher, whom we have heard hold one or two 
thousand listeners intent on the Word; and John 
Heyn Vincent, one of the most efficient men our 
conference has known. 

While prominent in almost every thing, J. H. 



Vincent is most known at present by his Sunday- 
school work. While in the Galena District in 1860 
he introduced the Sunday-school Institute, which for 
several years in the bounds of the conference was a 
thing of force. It was the first thing of the kind 
in the world. By these institutes the interest in 
Sunday-schools was increased twofold. The one 
idea of system was a result worthy of all the 
efforts put forth. The system introduced caused 
more work to be done in less time, and by suggest- 
ing new items of interest the institutes served to 
make the schools more interesting. It was a bless- 
ing to any man who would improve the opportunity 
to have come in contact with J. H. Vincent and his 
institutes in those days. From about 1858 to 1865 
there was a great Sunday-school reform wave pass- 
ing over the country, of which Dr. Vincent was one 
of the prime movers. After the lapse of years the 
three great results left us are: 1. The new style of 
singing ; 2. The Lesson Leaf; and, 3. The almost 
universal interest taken by prominent laymen in 
the Sunday-school work. The Lesson Leaf was a 
thing of growth. As early as 1850 Mr. Orange 
Judd, a Methodist layman, then the popular editor 
of the Agriculturist, was superintendent of a Sunday- 
school near New York City. He selected topical 
lessons, with date, topic, and chapter and verse, for 
each Sunday in the year. One of these lists was 
printed in the Agriculturist. From the " form " 
thus set up he had thousands of copies struck off 
on slips, which he sold all over the country to 
such schools as wished to use them. After a first 


success Mr. Judd printed these slips from year to 
year; and afterward embodied them in a series of 
question books. About 1860 many schools in the 
West purchased these slips and introduced the top- 
ical lessons. This occurred about the time that J. 
H. Vincent and his friends were introducing the 
Sunday-school Institute and other new schemes in 
the bounds of the Rock River Conference. From 
using Mr. Judd's slips many of us compiled our own 
lessons and had them printed. But as we had 
nothing but the topics and the texts, and no helps 
for teachers or scholars of any kind, every worker 
in these schools felt from the first the need of helps, 
and set about providing them. The writer of these 
pages in his school at Rockton in 1863 prepared 
brief teachers' helps, and had the older scholars 
write out copies for the teachers. Afterward he 
printed some of these on a hand-press at home. 

In the meantime Dr. Vincent was working in 
the same direction. In 1865 he was stationed at 
Trinity Church, Chicago. They began using these 
topical lessons in his Sunday-school. Mr. Vincent 
prepared helps about like what appear now on 
the Berean Leaf, and furnished copy to the North- 
western Advocate each week. From the Advocate 
"forms" he had slips printed for the use of his own 
school and some other schools that used them. This 
was the origin of Lesson Leaves. This year (1865) 
Dr. Vincent was publishing in Chicago a Teachers' 
Quarterly; the next year this became the Sun- 
day-School Teacher, published monthly. This 
Teacher was the first of all the publications of 


like nature. In the Teacher lesson helps with 
accompanying "Leaves" began to be published in 
the form in which they have continued, with vari- 
ations, ever since. These leaves and helps were 
entirely of Methodist origin ; born entirely of Rock 
River Conference brain. They were originated as 
topical lessons by a Methodist layman of New York, 
enlarged with lesson helps by a Methodist preacher, 
and published first in a Methodist Advocate. Surely 
that is something to congratulate ourselves for. We 
need not " branch out " here on their uses. It is 
beyond our means or space to enumerate the dif- 
ferent forms these leaves and helps have since 

There have ever since been here and there old-time 
people who have cried out against the leaves; but 
it were a sad misfortune that would displace them. 

At the conference of 1857 fifteen new charges 
appeared, some of which were old circuits modified, 
others were entirely new. One of these was Des 
Plaines Street, Chicago. 

Dukand is a station on the Racine and Missis- 
sippi Railroad, which is near the site of Medina, a 
village that for many years gave name to a circuit 
that had embraced the country around. Harrison, 
Durand, and Sugar River were the different names 
included in the Medina Circuit. There was a class 
formed near Durand as early as 1837. There were 
appointments and classes at A. Crane's and Nathan 
Varnie's houses. These two classes were moved to 
Durand in 1857 and organized into three classes, 
with A. D. Warner, Erastus Porch, and Samuel 


Pillsbury as leaders. In 1864 the charge included 
Durand, and Davis Station. A church was com- 
menced at Durand as early as 1858, and the society 
for several years worshiped in the basement. 
Through the efforts of L. S. Walker this was fin- 
ished in 1864 and dedicated by Dr. Eddy some time 
in September. At Davis in 1864 the preaching was 
in an Albright Church. 

Amboy was another large town that grew up on 
the prairie about this time. For many years before 
this there was a mill and small village called Bing- 
hamton about two miles east of Amboy, where a 
small church was built in 1855 or 1856. There 
had been preaching here from quite an early day. 
H. L. Martin preached in a school-house there in 
1853. During this year (1853) Mr. Martin preached 
occasionally at Amboy. The town was built be- 
tween 1854 and 1857. The Central Railway de- 
sired to establish its machine shops at Dixon, but 
not finding as good offers as desired the shops were 
established at Amboy in 1857, and this at once 
made the town. Regular Methodist services com- 
menced to be held in 1856 by G. W. T. Wright, on 
Sunday afternoon, in a building belonging to the 
Baptists, and probably the class was organized that 
year. The Central Railroad Company gave a build- 
ing lot, and in 1856 a church was commenced^ 
which was completed in 1857 and dedicated June 
21st by Professor O. S. Munsell, who was then sta- 
tioned at Mt. Morris. The text for the occasion 
was taken from Psalm xcv, 6: "O come let us 
worship." At the dedication one thousand dollars 


was raised in subscriptions to meet the demands. 
This house was a humble one, neat, but built in 
chapel form in the cheapest style. Amboy in 1857 
was set off as a station from Lee Center Circuit, in 
which it had been previously included, and the 
glittering O. B. Thayer was sent ou as preacher. 

Milledgeville Circuit, named after a town 
eight miles west ol Polo, included in 1858 the west- 
ern portion of the old Buffalo Grove work, taking 
in Elkhorn Grove. It has retained the same form 
until the present time. 

Lisbon became a preaching-place on the Milford 
Circuit in 1840. The first settlers within the vil- 
lage limits settled there in March, 1836; they were 
Horace Moore, Levi Hill, and Eben Hill, who came 
in that year from Vernon, New York. The first 
sermon was preached by Rev. Calvin Bushnell of 
the Congregationalist Church, who organized the 
first religious society early in 1838, consisting of 
seven members. Jervis Moore and wife, who came 
in 1837, were the first members of the Methodist 
Church who settled in the village. In July, 1840, 
the first class was organized by E. Springer. It 
consisted of six members. Solomon Wells was 
chosen leader. In 1857 the charge was set off from 
Newark Circuit. The class seems to have run down, 
for in 1844 S. F. Denning reorganized it with Jervis 
Moore as leader. Brother Denning in that year 
preached in a school-house. When the church was 
built we can not tell, but we know that it was used 
in 1853. 

A circuit called Lorn, embracing several of the 


small stations along the Fulton Railroad, was in- 
stituted in 1857. It has changed form several 
times, but has generally embraced Courtland and 
Blackberry. C. M. Webster, "the irrepressible 
church builder," built a church at all three points 
named between 1862 and 1863. June 26, 1863, 
there was a very neat church dedicated at Black- 
berry. Sermon in the morning by Dr. Eddy, in 
the afternoon by A. D. Field. There had been a 
Union Church for many years, owned principally 
by the Free Will Baptists*. In the Spring of 1863 
the Baptists voted to give the Methodists the after- 
noon hour, which was equivalent to extinguishment. 
A citizen at once offered the use of a hall, and also 
offered a liberal subscription if the Methodists would 
build a church. Under Webster's lead an elegant 
house of worship was completed in about four 
months. Blackberry has been a preaching-place 
ever since 1839. 

Shabbona Grove, the home of Shabbona, the 
old Indian chief, friend of the white man, was for 
many years included in Paw Paw Circuit. It has 
ever since 1857 had two or three appointments 
around the grove. One appointment was at Clinton, 
eight miles north. A. S. W. McCausland established 
an appointment and formed a class at Clinton in 
1853. A fine church was built in 1866. 

The remaining new charges were Richmond, a 
a clever town with church and parsonage; Harri- 
son, including several appointments in the north- 
west part of Winnebago County; Flora, since at- 
tached to Cherry Valley ; Lynnville, now Monroe ; 


Plum River, near Galena; Sinclair; High 
Prairie; and Hadley. 

Among the persons who located this year was 
George Riach. He was a Scotchman educated in 
Edinburg under Chalmers, who coming to America, 
had commenced traveling in Kentucky. In 1848 
he came North, and joined the Rock River Con- 
ference. A bachelor, with unpleasant habits, he 
never took well on his circuits. As a preacher he 
copied Chalmers, but was not Chalmers. His ser- 
mons were committed, and in a grand style he dis- 
coursed on physical nature and the stars. In 1855 
he was appointed to Chemung Circuit. He went 
to the work and passed a Sabbath, and then returned 
to his 'old charge for his trunk. He was seen to 
get on the cars at Reading, below Lasalle, and after 
that seen no more for the time. He then myste- 
riously disappeared. A year passed, and at the Au- 
rora Conference he came near having his obituary 
prepared. Not a word had been heard from him. 
But in the Summer of 1857 he came to life and 
appeared in Chicago. Under a fit of discourage- 
ment he left his work and went to Canada, where 
he remained nearly two years without communicat- 
ing with any one in Illinois. On his return he 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 465 



THE conference held its nineteenth session at 
Waukegan in 1858, Bishop Ames presiding. 
The following were received on trial: Leonard 
Clifford ; G. G. Lyon, who, after filling appoint- 
ments at Aurora and Woodstock four years, left as 
chaplain of the Thirty-sixth Illinois, becoming after 
a time chief of General Sigel's staff", and in 1863 
went back to the Genesee Conference, whence he 
came; Calvary Morris Webster, who received 
from Dr. Eddy the cognomen of " irrepressible 
church builder," from the fact that he built five 
churches in three years ; James N. Martin, one of 
three brothers who have in every position done 
honor to the conference. Mr. Martin was a grad- 
uate at Middletown, and for several years was pro- 
fessor at Mt. Morris and in an institution in Canada. 
He left Rock River in 1864 to establish a female 
college in Minnesota; W. M. Foreman, a steady 
worker and reliable man ; Matthew H. Triggs, 
one of the immortal six first graduates of Garrett 
Biblical Institute, and who, though not among the 
most brilliant in talent, will stand beside any in 
work and moral goodness; J. E. Hibbard, a 
minor Richard Haney, affluent in language and ora- 


torical in manner ; J. W. Sovereign, another first 
graduate of Garrett, a most worthy young man, who 
died in 1859; and Osmon Hutchins, yet another 
graduate of the then new Biblical school. 

At this conference Thomas North withdrew 
from the Methodist Episcopal Church. He came 
to Illinois from the State of New York in the Au- 
tumn of 1846, and commenced a select school in 
the basement of the Methodist Church at St. Charles. 
This school was a great success. Being a young 
local preacher, Mr. North filled many of the ap- 
pointments on the circuit, which then extended 
from St. Charles to Aurora. He also had a series 
of singing-schools during the Winter. He usually 
read his sermons at St. Charles, a practice he kept 
up until his withdrawal. He was admitted into the 
conference in 1847, and appointed to Millville, and 
was afterward at such appointments as Dixon, Ba- 
tavia, and Freeport, and was from the first rated 
as one of the brilliant preachers, and was appointed 
to preach the Mission Sermon at Rockford in 1857, 
which sermon was an excellent production. All 
along, from the time we attended his school at St. 
Charles in 1847 until 1858, there was a tendency to 
heterodoxy. A year or two before his withdrawal 
he preached sermons akin to " Oxford Essays " and 
the writings of Bishop Colenso, denying the inspira- 
tion of the historical portions of the Scriptures. 
He at last became an ultra Methodist reformer, and 
in 1858 wrote a most bitter article for the Northern 
Independent (which paper was the common medium 
for all the venom of disappointed souls), in which 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 467 

he poured his vials of wrath upon the corrupt 
Church. Martin P. Sweet at Freeport, where North 
was stationed in 1857, had been a "perfectionist" 
preacher in the East, and now adopted anew his 
old view, with the addition of the freeloveism of 
the then rampant Spiritists. North was led into 
the vortex, not unwillingly we deem. The faith was 
that man might become so perfect in soul that the 
acts of the body could have no effect upon the pure 
spirit ; and it was possible to become so holy the 
person need never die. Selfishness was the ill of 
earth. It discovered itself in all the ways of life, 
even in the marriage relation, which was bondage. 
The free spirit was to find its affinities and love 
where it listed. North, at Freeport, preached a 
farewell sermon, a mystical affair, that the Holy 
Stone of Joseph Smith itself could not unriddle, 
and at the conference he withdrew, making a fare- 
well speech as he went out. In that speech he 
said : " Kane in the Arctic regions, when drifting, 
driven by the ice-floe, found the icebergs were 
floating against this upper-current to the northward. 
He made his vessel fast to one of these bergs, and 
floated toward the North-pole. So I have moored 
my bark to the berg of truth, and, while the Churches 
and isms are drifting in the upper current, I, alone 
it is true, am carried by a superior power to the 
polar seas of holiness." Many Methodist preachers 
that day thanked God they were not moored to a 
cold iceberg floating to the chilling regions of 
skeptical night, but were sailing for the sunny 
regions of Gospel truth. 


Thomas North was a genial, clever soul, who 
won many friends, who really wept over what they 
considered his fall. The pendulum of opinion ever 
sways from one extreme to another. Thomas North, 
the bitter-spirited anti-slavery man, went to Texas 
in 1860, and for a time in the fearful rebellion 
maelstrom became lost to view. He returned North 
in 1867 and became an editor. In his farewell ser- 
mon he said : " I entertain views of truth which in 
their elements and ultimates will no longer permit 
me to live or remain in any of the Church organi- 
zations of the day. These views are vital to me, 
for in them I see Jesus Christ more than else- 
where." " I have been taught to feel what it is to 
be delivered from the law of precept and penalty." 
" I am no longer subject to ordinances." " Whom 
the Son makes free is free indeed !" " I am under 
government, but not the government of law. I am 
under the government of the spiritual presence 
and guidings of Jesus Christ." " I see that the law 
of precept and penalty, interpreted in the ordinary 
Church sense, . . . can restrain and protect each 
man in his self-loves ; but the law of the Spirit . . . 
can civilize us in the heavenly unselfish sense. And 
in proportion as we retain law and ordinances . . . 
so far shall we fail in reaching the true kingdom- 
of-heaven state." " To get out of the legal is to 
go into the spiritual ; to get out of the flesh is to 
go into the spirit ; ... to get out of the legal state 
is to go into the kingdom-of-heaven state. To get 
out of the world we must go into heaven. But 
mark ! To go into heaven is to leave the objective 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 469 

and go into the subjective, where Christ tells us the 
kingdom of God is." To such wildering mysticisms 
do men of mind come when once they get astray ! 
How the fearful ruins of shipwrecked souls warn us ! 

Mr. North, with Martin P. Sweet, organized at 
Freeport a branch of the Oneida Community, where 
all the mystic orgies of infatuated souls transpired. 
Mr. Guiteau, the father of the murderer of Presi- 
dent Garfield, was a member of this Freeport Com- 
munity, and under these influences young Guiteau 
was made the "crank" he appeared to be in life 
and in dying. 

Mr. North was in the South all through the 
rebel war. Sometimes he was preaching in a Meth- 
odist Church, South. At length, about 1867, he 
reappeared in Freeport. He for a time was a mem- 
ber of the Methodist Episcopal Church there ; was 
engaged in the insurance business. About 1870 he 
was working in a Chicago editorial office. 

The new charges of 1858 were as the year be- 
fore mostly railroad stations grown into prominence. 
Among them were Wheaton, Forreston, and Como. 
Como included a strip of country twelve miles 
across from Rock River to Rock Creek, having ap- 
pointments at Como, Empire, New Genesee, and 
Round Grove. At Como in 1858 the Methodists 
held their meetings in the Congregationalist Church. 
At all other places the preaching was in school- 
houses. The class at Como consisted of Henry 
Murray, Francis Dubridge and wife, and a few others. 
It was organized by S. F. Denning, with eight 
members, in May, 1856. 


Forreston in 1858 had appointments at Forreston, 
Bailey ville, Cherry Grove, Spring Valley, and Flor- 
ence. Forreston village was laid out by G. W. 
Hewitt in the Fall of 1854. The Central Railroad 
built a depot the same year. In 1853 Forreston was 
included in Crane Grove Circuit, which had Hender- 
son Richey as preacher. In May, 1855, Samuel 
Mitchell and family moved to Forreston, this being 
the first Methodist family. In July, 1855, the first 
sermon of any kind preached here was by William 
Underwood, a Methodist preacher. The services 
were held in the passenger-depot, where all the re- 
ligious meetings were held till the Fall of 1856, when 
all began to be held in the school-house. At the 
fourth quarterly-meeting, held in 1856, four dollars 
and forty-two cents quarterage was reported from 
Forreston. In the Fall of 1856 G. J. Bliss was ap- 
pointed to Crane Grove. A class was formed by 
him at Forreston, consisting of Samuel Mitchell, 
Hannah Mitchell, Jacob Salter, Sophia Salter, and 
H. G. Starr, leader. At the second quarterly-meet- 
ing Samuel Mitchell was appointed steward. The 
first quarterly-meeting held at Forreston was March 
21, 1857 — C. C. Best, presiding elder; Joseph Best, 
superannuate ; Z. S. Kellogg, local preacher ; T. M. 
Wilson, H. G. Starr, leaders ; David Martin, Sam- 
uel Mitchell, stewards. There were six appoint- 
ments on the mission. In 1857 to 1859 Robert 
Brotherton was preacher. During the time the first 
protracted meeting was held, at which Rev. Alonzo 
Campbell and wife joined the Church. In 1858 
the name of the circuit was changed to Forreston. 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 471 

A church was built in 1865, which was dedicated 
by Dr. T. M. Eddy. Forreston was made a station 
in 1868, with H. U. Reynolds as preacher. He re- 
mained two years and was followed in 1870 by A. 
D. Field. During this year the church was beau- 
tifully papered with fresco paper. During the time 
from 1859 to 1870 many strong persons had moved 
in and had taken hold of the work, among whom 
none were more efficient than Matthew Blair and 
Aaron Middlekoff. 

Eabl has had a long history. In 1834 Rev. S. 
R. Beggs was appointed to the Princeton Circuit, 
which embraced all the country from Princeton to 
Ottowa, and north to Shabbona Grove. In the 
Summer of 1835 Mr. Beggs found four or five fam- 
ilies settled at " The Point," near Mr. Sutphen's 
residence. He was invited to preach, and he at 
once established a regular preaching-place there and 
visited the neighborhood once a month till Septem- 
ber, 1836. In a year or two the " precinct " school- 
house was built, and thereafter this became the 
gathering-place for the country. A class was organ- 
ized some time in 1838 or 1839, and as nearly as we 
can make out there has been Methodist preaching 
here regularly since 1835, and a regular class (or 
Church) since 1839. The class often dwindled, but 
never, so far as we can learn, became extinct. The 
chief causes of the want of continued prosperity 
were found in the " Wesleyan " secession and the 
prevalence of "Protestant" Methodists. The ap- 
pointment was first on Princeton Circuit, then on 
Little Rock, then Paw Paw, and lastly Freedom. 


There was a small village here as early as 1850, 
and when the railroad came in 1853 a town at 
once began to grow up. At the conference of 1853 
Freedom Mission was set off from the old Paw Paw 
Circuit. Hardin was the head-quarters of the cir- 
cuit, and Elijah Ransom, a portly, eloquent, whole- 
souled man, was sent on as the preacher. From 
that day the class at Earl has been a growing so- 
ciety. In 1854 Robert Wright came on to the Free- 
dom charge. The following item is copied from 
the Advocate in 1856 : " Earlville is on Freedom 
Circuit; has eight hundred inhabitants; seven 
stores ; they hope to commence a church." 

In the Spring of 1856, under direction of Mr. 
Wright, Church trustees were elected and plans for 
building entered upon. The church was finally 
partly completed in 1857, but on account of the 
financial collapse was left deeply in debt. R. 
Wright was followed by Charles A. Roe in 1856. 
Mr. Roe's health failed in the Spring, and B. D. 
Himebaugh supplied the Freedom charge for three 
months. Mr. Himebaugh found the church an in- 
closed windowless shell, and the society worshiping 
in the Presbyterian Church, which by kindness ot 
Mr. Ustick and the Presbyterian society was opened 
once in two weeks in the afternoon for Methodist 
preaching. Mr. Himebaugh, being a carpenter, 
set to work and with his own hands laid the floor of 
the church, and rough seats being put in, a quarterly- 
meeting was held in the house July 4, 1857. This 
was the first meeting ever held in the church. In 
the Fall of 1857 G. F. Gage was sent to Freedom 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 473 

Circuit, and in 1858 Earl became a station, and Mr. 
Gage was continued on the Earl portion. He pur- 
chased of the Church the present parsonage lot and 
built the present parsonage as his own private 
property. This he sold on removing to C. K. 
Brown. At the conference of 1859 forty-five mem- 
bers were reported, and a Sunday-school with one 
hundred scholars. 

In 1859 H. Minard was sent on as preacher, but 
as the Church was poor and embarrassed Mr. Mi- 
nard left three months before conference, and the 
work was supplied by J. Bush. In 1860 fifty-four 
members were reported. This year Earl was put 
in connection with Sonianauk, and Wesley Sud- 
doth was supplied by the elder. Mr. Suddoth was 
followed in 1862 by W. R. Seeley, another supply. 

When E. Q. Fuller came on to the Mendota 
District, in 1863, the former elder told him Earl 
was hardly worth looking after, and he had made 
no provision for it. The place was left " to be sup- 
plied." Elder Fuller found a man, T. B. Taylor by 
name, who had been a teacher in various semi- 
naries, and who had lately come from the army, 
where he had been a chaplain. Mr. Taylor was 
rather a wandering planet, and yet he had the ele- 
ments of popularity about him. He drew something 
of a congregation, and gave the Church a start up- 

In 1864 William A. Cross was appointed to Earl. 
He was young, agreeable, and zealous, and at once 
began to gather the people about him. He held a 

protracted meeting in the Winter of 1865, when 



there were as many as a hundred converts, many 
of whom have continued to this day to be active 
and useful Christians. If was during this same 
Winter that through political strife Mr. Cross re- 
ceived a donation of five hundred and seventy-five 
dollars. During his two years the Church was 
greatly prosperous. The Sunday-school took a start 
upward. In the Fall of 1865, through the efforts 
of Elder Fuller and Mr. Cross, the Church debt, 
amounting to one thousand dollars, was paid and 
the parsonage purchased for eight hundred dollars. 
Mr. Cross reported to conference on leaving Earl 
in 1866 one hundred members; Church valued at 
three thousand five hundred dollars; parsonage val- 
ued at eight hundred dollars ; one Sunday-school 
with one hundred and seventy-five in attendance. 

At the conference of 1866 A. D. Field, who had 
been for two years at the county-seat of Kendall 
County, was sent to Earl. In the Winter of 1867 
seven hundred dollars of parsonage and Church 
debt was paid off. October 1, 1867, the following 
was Mr. Field's report to conference : Members, 
eighty-five ; scholars in Sunday-school, two hun- 
dred; church and parsonage, four thousand seven 
hundred dollars ; raised for missions, fifty dollars ; 
congregations good ; Sunday-school prosperous ; 
singing fine ; preacher well paid ; and all things 
moving prosperously. During the two years from 
1866 to 1868 one thousand four hundred dollars was 
raised for Church debts and refurnishing. 

Plano, which appeared as a separate charge in 
1858, had been for many years in the bounds of the 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 475 

old Little Rock Circuit, and afterward in Sugar 
Grove Circuit. There were appointments from an 
early day near by, but it is probable the first meet- 
ings were held at Piano in 1855. The Methodists 
have a fine church, and the society is in a prosper- 
ous condition. 

Rockford in 1883 had four prosperous Churches, 
among which Third Street was not the least. 
Hooper Crews, that man under whom the work al- 
ways prospered, was appointed to the first Church 
in 1856, and during his two years revival influ- 
ences were so great, especially in the Winter of 
1858, the society became so large there was hardly 
room in the church for the members, there being 
near four hundred in society. Besides, there had 
been for some time a little friction between the old 
and the new style members. An influential portion 
of the Church desired to rent the pews, but a ma- 
jority were opposed. Accordingly, under the lead 

of William Brown, Solomon Wheeler, Foster, 

and other energetic men, a new society was organ- 
ized, which proceeded to build a church. The 
church, which was a neat frame, with vestry in the 
rear, with a cottage parsonage by its side, was com- 
pleted in 1858. In all their arrangements this so- 
ciety was noted for energy and success. In 1859 
there were one hundred and twenty-five members, 
with a church worth seven thousand dollars. In 
1864 there was a report of two hundred and eighty 
dollars for the mission cause, being one dollar and 
forty cents per member. In 1883 the Third Street 
and the old church reunited in the new Centenary 


Church. The number of members reported to the 
conference in 1858 shows an increase of four thou- 
sand two hundred and fifty-five members in one 
year, the increase being the result of the extensive 
revivals of that year. There has never been a year 
since the crucifixion when there were so many ad- 
ditions to the common Church of Christ as in the 
matchless year 1858. There have been years 
when the Methodists had greater meetings, but there 
were never such universal revivals. The New York 
Tribune, then edited by semi-infidel writers, found 
it to conduce to its interests to give daily reports, 
to the extent of nearly a page, of the doings and 
sayings of the revival meetings and Union Prayer- 
meetings of New York and surrounding places, 
thus becoming for the time one of the greatest Gos- 
pel agencies. Those reports stirred up the whole 
country to labor. In the Rock River Conference 
almost every charge shared in these interests. At 
meetings held in De Kalb there were eighty con- 
versions ; at Cedarville, in a three weeks' meeting, 
sixty-five conversions; at Westfield Corners, Win- 
nebago Circuit, under labors of W. F. Stewart and 
D. C. Howard, there were one hundred ; at Kanka- 
kee, seventy-five ; at Mt. Morris, under labors of 
R. A. Blanchard, two hundred conversions, among 
whom were eighty students; at Kingston, under 
T. R. Satterfield's labors, one hundred and fifty ; at 
Elgin, sixty; at Sandwich, under labors of D. L. 
Winslow, seventy; at Barrington, on Dundee Cir- 
cuit, under C. Lazenbee, sixty; at Stillman, on 
Light House Circuit, under D. W. Linn, seventy; 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 477 

at Savannah, one hundred and twenty-five ; at Ore- 
gon, under H. L. Martin, forty; at Warren, under 
William Kegan, seventy-five; at the old Church 
at Buffalo Grove, under the labors of S. F. Denning, 
fifty-eight ; at Marengo, two hundred and fifty ; at 
Waukegan, seventy-five conversions. These are 
but instances of the progress of the Master's cause. 
It will be noticed that these few we have noted 
amount to one thousand five hundred and fifty-three 
conversions in that glorious Winter. 

There came into the conference this year by re- 
admission and transfer R. J. White, who went the 
next year to Missouri, where he joined the Church 
" South," and D. C. Howard, who perhaps ought 
to have gone that road ; a man proscribed, not by 
the conference, but by the people for political views. 
He was a man who had many noble traits, but be- 
coming rather ambitious ran into many curious 
ways, last of all into Universalism. 

The conference met at Galena in 1859 for its 
twentieth session. Bishop Ames, in his dignified 
way, presided for the third time, giving great satis- 
faction. Several new arrangements were adopted 
at this session. Philo Judson, having been super- 
annuated for some years, had entered upon secular 
business that hindered his serving as secretary — 
an office he had filled with more than common ac- 
ceptance since 1845, serving fourteen sessions. J. 
H. Vincent, who had been assistant the year before, 
and after only two years' membership in the con- 
ference, was elected to ply the secretarial pen. S. 
F. Denning was continued assistant. A. D. 


Field and E. Q. Fuller were elected statistical sec- 
retaries, so that the curious fact appeared that all 
four of these secretaries were from the Mt. Morris 
District, over which S. P. Keyes was presiding el- 
der. Statistical secretary was a new office. Up to 
1857 blanks were prepared and the stewards called 
the preachers' names in open conference, when each 
preacher reported aloud all the items published in 
the form of reports. This consumed the time of 
one or more sessions. In 1857 the printed blanks 
now used were introduced by the whole connection, 
and a committee of one from each district was ap- 
pointed to gather up the statistics. The result was 
a jumble, and conference generally adjourned leav- 
ing the work unfinished. At Galena the conference 
adopted the practice, now the universal custom, of 
electing a statistical secretary, who does all the 
work — and the work is done. This is a rule worth 
making a note of by men in all the callings of life. 
If you want a thing neglected set a dozen to do 
it ; if you want it done set one or two at it. A. D. 
Field was statistical secretary for thirteen years. 

The revivals of 1858 introduced street preach- 
ing all over the country. In Chicago there had 
been preaching and temperance addresses in the 
streets with some success, and now at the Galena 
Conference the practice became a hobby. " Cali- 
fornia Taylor " (Rev. William now Bishop Taylor) 
was there to set the thing in motion. He opened 
the way Wednesday afternoon on a vacant block, 
and Robert L. Collier followed on Thursday after- 
noon. Dr. Eddy took up the strain on Friday, but 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 479 

a congregation of preachers was about all the re- 
sult, and the thing was given up. In a land of 
churches street preaching does not succeed well. 

The men received on trial were D. J. Holmes, 
student of Mt. Morris, Yale, and Williams College, 
and of the Biblical Institute, who during all these 
years from 1848 to 1859 passed as a wit, and who 
has not yet gotten beyond the reputation, but who 
to his wit is adding a more serious purpose ; Ed- 
waed P. Hart, a convert of Dr. Redfield's at Ma- 
rengo, who at the end of this year left the Church ; 
A. W. Paige, an efficient worker; William H. 
Smith, a whole-souled revivalist, a second Miles L. 
Reed, a driver ; and W. A. Cross, not the least in 
a family of amiable, useful preachers. Among the 
transfers were William Krebs, one of the importa- 
tions of Wabash Avenue, who returned to Balti- 
more after his year and a half service at the avenue ; 
and Professor G. W. Quereau, for years the ener- 
getic principal of Clark Seminary, who to a match- 
less symmetry of character adds the zeal of an old- 
time Methodist preacher. He had been for many 
years previous to coming West principal of the 
Providence Conference Seminary at East Green- 
wich, Rhode Island. Eleven new charges were 
constituted in 1859. 

Brickton, which had been before an appoint- 
ment on the Niles Circuit, received J. T. Hanna. 
George W. Penny, a noted brick-maker and a Chi- 
cago Methodist, set up a brick-yard some twelve 
miles from Chicago, and called the little village 
that gathered around Brickton. A church was 


commenced in 1855 and a preacher asked for this 
year, and eighty-two members were reported in 
1860. But like most of the settlements in Cook 
County the Germans are in a majority, and Amer- 
ican Churches prosper poorly. In 1864 Brickton 
had sixty-four members, a church and parsonage, 
and a Sunday-school with two hundred scholars. 
In 1871 the name was changed to Park Ridge. 

Haevard appeared in name in 1858, but it was 
only another name for Big Foot. It became a sep- 
arate charge in 1859. Harvard is a growing town, 
which began its existence in 1856 on the North- 
western Railway. There was a Methodist ap- 
pointment and class established in the " Diggins 
Settlement" a mile south-east of Harvard in 
1839, by L. S. Walker. Until 1843 this was a 
prominent appointment on the Crystal Lake Cir- 
cuit. The fourth quarterly-meeting for 1839-40 
was held there August 14, 1840, John Clark pre- 
siding, and among the quarterage receipts for the 
year sixty-one dollars and thirty-one cents was re- 
ported from the " Diggins Class." Wesley Diggins 
was a steward. Another quarterly-meeting was held 
in the settlement February 26, 1842, with Jonathan 
Manzer as secretary of the conference. The Miller- 
ites and Wesleyans used up the society, dividing it 
between them in 1843, and from that time there 
was no regular preaching or class nearer than Che- 
mung and Big Foot till 1857, when James McClane, 
who was on the Chemung Circuit, began to preach 
in a room in E. J. Sanford's tavern. In 1857 
Harvard became a regular appointment of Big 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 481 

Foot Circuit, and H. W. Richardson, the pastor, 
organized a class and preached once in two weeks 
in Mansfield Hall, which was burned down in 1863. 
In the Winter of 1858 there was a gracious revival, 
the meetings being held every night for some time 
in Mansfield Hall. The class when organized con- 
sisted of E. J. Sanford, leader, and his wife, E. S. 
Sanford, Brother and Sister Lowell, George Park- 
hurst, and William Bo wen. The church was built 
chiefly through the efforts of T. B. Wakeman in 
1859, and dedicated by Bishop Ames. In 1860 J. 
H. Moore, fresh from secular life, went on the charge, 
and himself and George Richardson, who was teach- 
ing in the place, carried on a very prosperous re- 
vival meeting in 1861. The revival was set in mo- 
tion by a sermon preached by William Taylor some 
time in December. Church debts and at times a want 
of harmony hindered the work there, but no doubt 
Harvard is to become one of our best appointments. 
Round Prairie, which gave name to a circuit 
in 1859, with William R. Irvine as preacher, be- 
came a preaching-place and a regular appointment 
on Crystal Lake Circuit in 1839. The class was 
organized in 1838, when the appointment was on 
Rockford Circuit. The meetings were held in an 
old school-house built of poplar logs at the corner 
two miles south of Union Corners Church. The 
first quarterly-meeting of the new Crystal Lake 
Circuit was held at Round Prairie November 4, 
1839. John Clark was present as presiding elder, 
and R. E. Streeter was secretary. C. H. Staples, 
Uriah Cottle, Jonathan Manzer, William Deats, 



Wesley Diggins, J. Walkup, and R. K. Hurd were 
present at the quarterly conference. This was 
probably the first quarterly-meeting held on the 
prairie. During the year J. D. Maxon and W. R. 
Streeter appealed to the quarterly conference from 
charges presented by Gibson Wright concerning 
claim quarrels. Round Prairie reported as quarter- 
age during the year sixty-four dollars. In 1840 
R. C. Hovey was at quarterly-meetings as leader 
from Round Prairie. In 1842 the appointment was 
attached to the Belvidere Charge, with R. A. 
Blanchard as preacher. The old frame school- 
house in the Hovey neighborhood at the east end 
of the prairie was built in 1841 with lumber hauled 
from Chicago, and the preaching moved there. 
About 1845 an appointment was established at 
Union Corners. The prairie was for a number of 
years included in the Big Foot Circuit. For a 
time there was a store at Parks Corners, and that 
point was the head-quarters of the prairie, but by 
1859 Union Corners began to take the lead. There 
was an effort made to build a church in 1857, but 
as the place was to be decided upon by the largest 
subscription the matter created wrangling and the 
scheme failed. In 1860 A. D. Field went on the 
charge, and remained two years. In 1862 he began 
the Round Prairie Church. To procure the lot he 
was obliged to pace the streets, a bitter cold night, 
until one o'clock, with Gibson Wright. The lot 
cost seventy-five dollars. The church was built 
during the Summer of 1862. It is thirty by forty- 
two, with a neat vestry in the rear. It was dedi- 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 483 

cated in August by A. P. Mead, then stationed at 
Rockford, the text for the occasion being " On this 
rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell 
shall not prevail against it." I. The foes. II. The 
stability of the Church. The preacher in charge, 
who had superintended the whole building, draft- 
ing every item of work, read the following report: 
Whole cost, one thousand one hundred and ninety- 
five dollars ; indebtedess, two hundred and seven- 
teen dollars and fifty cents ; good subscriptions, 
two hundred and eighteen dollars. So that there 
was no money-raising on the day of dedication. 
The ladies raised the money for furnishing. The 
appointments were at the stone school-house two 
miles north of Union Corners, Union Corners, 
frame school-house, and Capron. During the Win- 
ter of 1861 there was a glorious revival at the 
Lumly School-house, half a mile north of Capron, 
with many conversions. The Capron Class was 
organized in this school-house by William R. Ir- 
vine in the Spring of 1860, and in 1864 meetings 
were removed to the station. The names of the 
first members were : Asia Pease, and wife, Cornelia 
and Marcella Pease, George and Catharine Lumly, 
Simon Todd and wife, George Kirk and wife, Will- 
iam Wooster, and Lucius Wilcox. In the years 
1859, 1860, 1861, and 1862, very profitable camp- 
meetings were held at Parks Corners, on land be- 
longing to that cheerful-hearted local preacher, 
Samuel Parks. Those of 1861, 1862, were more 
than commonly blest. At the first great help was 
rendered by Wesley Lattin, J. H. Vincent, E. Q. 


Fuller, and S. F. Denning; at the second (1862) 
A. P. Mead was a very efficient worker. At this 
meeting on Sunday night there was preaching and 
love-feast followed by the sacrament. The night 
was still, and as the lamp-light glimmered through 
the drooping trees all was grand and solemn as an 
ancient temple or the garden over Kedron, remind- 
ing one of the solemn hush preceding the opening of 
the portals of eternal life. Hundreds at that heavenly 
midnight hour came and knelt around the sacramental 
board. When the solemn Paschal feast was over 
R. A. Blanchard arose and sang a judgment hymn. 
All was still, with not a rustle or a whisper, save 
the suppressed prayers and whispered " glorys," 
which broke gently from devout lips, and the clear 
tones of the thrilling song reverberated through trees 
and tents, borne on the midnight air. Ending the 
song, the elder invited penitents to the altar. Many 
came to dedicate themselves in that glorious hour 
to the Savior of wandering souls. 

The members at Round Prairie in 1839 were 
W. R. Streeter, wife, and mother, R. E. Streeter, 
Jacob Streeter, Gibson Wright, J. D. Maxon, R. C. 
Hovey, and R. K. Hurd ; Benjamin and Elijah 
Bowman settled there in 1840. 

A charge was formed in 1859, bearing the name 
of Mt. Pleasant, which in 1863 properly became 
Ogle. In 1836 the preacher on Buffalo Grove 
Circuit (James McKean) crossed to the east side of 
Rock River, and established an appointment at 
Washington Grove. During that year a log chapel 
was built between Washington and Lafayette Groves. 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 485 

This chapel was burned down in 1838 by some one 
out of spite, and immediately a small frame chapel 
was erected. This became one of the main preach- 
ing-places on Light House Point Circuit, and con- 
tinued to be a gathering point until 1855. About 
that time the " Dixon Air Line " Railway was 
constructed, and the Light House Point preachers 
pushed their appointments as far as Rochelle and 
Dement. About 1854 people began to push out into 
the prairie south of Lafayette Grove toward Ogle. 
Many of these settlers were members of the Metho- 
dist Church at the " old chapel " and Light House. 
A. G. Smith established an appointment at Mt. 
Pleasant School-house in the Spring of 1855. At 
a camp-meeting held in the Summer of 1855 at 
Washington Grove a good work was broken up by 
a heavy rain, and the meetings adjourned to a stone 
school-house two miles north of Ogle. The preach- 
ers left for conference, and S. G. Forbes, a revivalist 
from the East, carried on the meetings. The house 
was thronged for six weeks, and a large society was 
at once organized. The appointment was attached 
to Lane in 1856 and to Franklin in 1857. A 
church was commenced on a high prairie two miles 
north of Ogle, which was not finished until 1857. 
The church was a very .fine one, built of stone with 
basement, and cost four thousand dollars. All 
things were ready for dedication November 19, 
1857, but the weather became so cold few could get 
out, and the appointed preacher did not come. 
Those who gathered urged their pastor to preach, 
and he complied, using as a text : " How amiable 


are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts." (Psalm 
xxxvi, 1.) This was the first sermon in the house 
after it was finished. The real dedication took 
place at the quarterly-meeting Sunday morning, Jan- 
uary 10, 1858. The services were conducted by the 
presiding elder, Luke Hitchcock, who used as a text : 
"How shall they hear without a preacher? and how 
shall they preach except they be sent ?" It was a driz- 
zling, raiuy day, so that few were present from beyond 
the neighborhood. In a short time one thousand 
two hundred dollars in subscriptions were secured. 
The church was commenced in the most prosperous 
times, but was not completed until after the " crash 
of 1857," consequently the Church was embarrassed 
by debts. A new church was undertaken at the 
same time on the site of the " old chapel " of 1836, 
and between the two both were a failure. The 
stone church should have been at Ogle, and a church 
built at the " old chapel " place. H. L. Martin, when 
on the Light House Circuit, preached at Ogle in 
1856 ; and in the Fall of that year Ogle became 
one of the appointments on Franklin Circuit, and 
in 1859 Ogle, with the Mt. Pleasant Church, be- 
came a separate charge. The preaching until 1858 
was in a small room over a store owned by Alfred 
Chapman. During the Summer of 1859 the stone 
school-house was built, and the present writer had 
the privilege of preaching the first sermon in it. 
This school-house was used until 1864, when a new 
church was dedicated, which had been built under 
the supervision of the preacher, James McClane. 
The Free Methodists had the start, however, they 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 487 

having built in 1861. On this Ogle charge were 
some of the truest Methodist people we have ever 
known. Many of the best, we are sorry to say, 
were led away by the wild Nazarite waves of 

Yorkville appeared on the Minutes of 1859, 
but had been a separate work the year before. The 
Hough neighborhood on Somanauk Creek became 
the head-quarters of Somanauk Circuit in 1837, 
with Stephen Arnold as preacher. In 1839 E. 
Springer, who was on the Somanauk Circuit, or- 
ganized a class at Bristol, of which F. A. Em- 
mons was leader, and since there was a society 
in the only village of the circuit at the confer- 
ence of 1839 the name was changed to Bristol, 
and A. F. Rogers sent on as preacher. A house 
was bought for a parsonage, in which Waldo Marsh 
had lived, in which Mr. Rogers, Harvey Hadley, 
and William Kimball lived when they were on the 
Bristol Circuit. The appointments were at Bristol, 
Sugar Grove, Little Rock, and at the head of 
Somanauk. In 1842 the Wesleyan excitement rose 
high, and William Kimball, the preacher, did all 
he could to fan the flame. Mr. Kimball and Rufus 
Lummery occupied the country from Aurora to Ot- 
tawa on the east side of Fox River, and as they both 
went to the Wesleyans they nearly broke up the 
Methodist classes of their circuits. By this course 
Bristol Circuit became broken up, and there 
was little preaching at Bristol until 1846. The 
preaching from 1838 to 1842 had been in an old 
school-house most of the time, but occasionally in 


a small Baptist Church. William Royal preached 
in Yorkville, across the river from Bristol, in Mr. 
Duryea's house in 1835 and 1836; S. R. Beggs, in 
1844; and J. C. Stoughton in 1849 preached in a 
brick school-house in Yorkville, in 1865 used as a 
German parsonage. In 1845 a circuit was revived, 
covering the regions embraced in the old Bristol 
work, and called Little Rock, with O. W. Munger 
as preacher. Mr. Munger re-established the ap- 
pointment at Bristol, which was kept up until 1859, 
when the society moved its meetings across the 
river to Yorkville. Bristol remained on Little 
Rock Circuit until 1854, when it was attached to 
Oswego Charge. In 1858 the class at Bristol de- 
sired to be left to shift for themselves. They em- 
ployed M. Lewis, a local preacher, and set about 
building a church in Bristol, but failed. Elias and 
Jacob Black, who owned mills in Yorkville, made 
liberal offers, and since there was no church on the 
Yorkville side the offer was accepted and a church 
built and completed in time to be dedicated in Oc- 
tober, 1859, just after the conference of that 
year. Dr. Eddy was called upon to dedicate the 
new church. M. Lewis continued on the work until 
1860, when he reported fifty members and two Sun- 
day-schools, with fifty scholars. In 1861, the Sugar 
Grove Circuit having become disintegrated, Jericho 
and Bristol Station were attached to the charge. 
Sugar Grove Circuit was formed in 1854, and T. L. 
Olmsted sent on as supply. He established an 
appointment at the Cement school-house, a mile and 
a half north-east of Bristol Station, and organized 

CONFERENCES OF 1858-1859. 489 

a class. The members were C. H. Raymond and 
wife, Mrs. E. Young, Melia Young, and a few others. 
During the year there was quite a revival in the 
neighborhood, when many of the present members 
were added to the Church. The meetings were con- 
tinued in the Cement school-house until 1858, when 
they were removed to Bristol Station. Since then 
there has been a regular appointment, with a small 
class at the station worshiping in the upper room 
of the town school-house, and several years ago a 
new church was built. There were still in the York- 
ville Society in 1865 a few of the earliest mem- 
bers, among whom are F. A. Emmons, the first class 
leader, and Waldo Marsh. 




IN 1860 the conference met for the fourth time in 
Chicago. Bishop Janes presided for the third 
time. The first Chicago Conference was held in a 
small frame Baptist Church ; the second and third 
in the brick church built in 1845, and this, the fourth, 
met in the audience-room of the Methodist Block. 
The fifth as, we shall see, was held in 1864 in Wa- 
bash Avenue Church. The conference in 1860 had 
arrived at a position of prominence. Churches 
were found in most of the charges. There were 
now one hundred and eleven traveling ministers ; 
nineteen thousand one hundred and seventy-two 
members ; Church property worth six hundred and 
forty-four thousand dollars ; and two hundred and 
eighty-nine Sunday-schools, with seventeen thousand 
eight hundred scholars. 

Concerning the preachers received at this and 
the following conferences we will say little, since 
they were in 1865 yet in their first labors and to a 
great extent undeveloped. Of transfers we may be 
allowed to give short notices. Of the preachers 
who received appointments twenty years before, in 
1840 at the Mt. Morris Conference, only seven re- 
ceived appointments in 1860. They were Hooper 


Crews, R. A. Blanchard, Nathan Jewett, Milton 
Bourne, L. S. "Walker, Barton H. Cartwright, and S. 
P. Keyes. 

Some of the preachers had passed during the 
year through stormy times. The wild scenes of 
Nazaritism or Free Methodism had culminated in 
secessions. We have hesitated to say any thing 
upon this subject from the fact that no pen can lay 
before the reader the true animus of that secession. 
That curious people should have been seen to have 
been fully appreciated. There are those who think 
best to keep from our historic pages all reference 
to Church troubles. We have observed that these 
accounts are warnings to those who come after and 
never do harm. No one of sense will think less of 
a Church because that Church has had difficulties, 
unless the difficulties, as is the case with Congrega- 
tionalism, arise from inherent defects. The diffi- 
culties which ended in the organization of the Free 
Methodist Church in the Fall of 1860 had their 
origin and their culmination principally in the 
bounds of the Genesee Conference. There were 
many elements entering into the difficulties, which 
produced distraction and a secession of the wildest 
people history has known, unless we except the 
Adamites, who in (we believe) the fourteenth cen- 
tury worshiped in promiscuous crowds in a state 
of nudity. The first element had been operating 
for twenty years. It is probably known to most 
that about 1830 the politics of the State of New 
York hinged on Masonry, and the Anti-masons 
elected at one time a governor and other State 


officers. It was the most bitter and criminating 
quarrel that ever cursed a people. The Churches 
were divided, and dissensions arose in the Metho- 
dist Church, which continued to operate until the 
troubles of 1860. A second element was a division 
on what was called " old-fashioned Methodism," 
one of the most fallacious ideas that ever bewild- 
ered a soul. A minister will visit a village where a 
few Methodists have settled. Gathering them into 
a little class, meetings will be held in private dwell- 
ings, a school-house, or a hall. A revival will break 
out, and in the humble and rude meeting-place the 
people will sing without form, and feel entirely 
free in their happy, new society life. Members in- 
crease, and the place of meeting becomes too small, 
and they set about building a church. The patrons 
having been prospered live in pleasant homes, and 
what is more natural than that they should desire 
to have a neat church ? The people of the com- 
munity feel an interest, and the village ladies join 
the movement, fitting up the new house in a neat 
manner. They have been used to singing altogether 
in the school-house, but they can not do it as well 
in the church, and the singing becomes a failure. 
In the small room they could sing in concord, but 
in the larger church there is no one voice that can 
lead in harmony the larger congregation, and those 
who ai*e not independent singers cease to sing. To 
remedy this an instrument of some kind — melodeon 
or organ — is brought in to lead the singing. Some- 
times with this there is congregational singing; 
sometimes a cluster form a choir. Having: a church 


many citizens finely appareled are soon found in at- 
tendance, and often the meetings take on a staid 
(too staid, we admit) form. Soon there will be those 
who will believe that they had better times in the 
old school-house, and, looking back to the humble 
worship and the revival where they were converted, 
made radiant by memories of their first love, they 
call it "old-fashioned Methodism," a thing about 
as good to go back to as the old-fashioned stage- 
coach, the tallow-candle, or the things that were ere 
Van Winkle fell asleep! There is one other in- 
gredient to this — all things to a soul in its first love 
look lovely. Preachers and people are often 
led away by this fallacy. Many years ago Dr. 
Elias Bowen, of the Oneida Conference, was in- 
vited to dedicate a church in which an organ was 
set up, and he obliged the trustees to promise to re- 
move the organ ere he would preach the dedication 
sermon. Again, " revivalists " by profession are 
often in fashion. A Church and ministers would 
labor on, sowing and culturing the good seed, and 
when the fields were ripe the revivalist would come 
along, and by his efforts hundreds would be con- 
verted. These men received all the credit, while 
the men who had labored in preparation were 
counted of little worth. Men who, if they settled 
down in a charge for two years, would ruin it in 
six weeks, would sweep things, and conclude that 
all others were worthless. There came to be these 
two classes in the Genesee Conference. There were 
the more intellectual, faithful laborers, and the 
stormy kind of men ; and as jealousies arose between 


the two they ceased to work in harmony. By and 
by the zealous revival sort began to go into the 
charges, where the other class of" preachers were 
appointed, and hold meetings where the preacher in 
charge would for the time be set aside, and often 
ill-treated, and spoken of in a sneering way in the 
presence of his own people. These two classes 
about equally divided the preachers in the Genesee 
Conference, and each party strove to get possession 
of the influential positions. Sometimes men of one 
party would be presiding elders ; sometimes of the 
other. Things had come to such a pass by 1858 
that independent meetings were held in all parts 
of the conference. The early Methodists had often 
found in their societies zealous, noisy people, who 
were prized for their goodness, but noise was never 
sought as a good, only accepted as an accompani- 
ment ; the rising Nazarites made noise a condition, 
and instead of having, as the early Methodists did, 
here and there noisy people, the new school drew 
around its altars all the enthusiasts of the land, 
and one must be an enthusiast or he could not pass 
muster. They adopted as their motto : Free seats, 
congregational singing, plainness in dress, and a 
noisy, free way of doing things that banished all 

They also professed to be the only true teach- 
ers of holiness, and by this last profession deceived 
more persons than by any other means. But their 
" holiness " was neither Wesleyan nor Biblical. 
With some just ideas of the true way of life they 
mingled many crude and absurd notions. They ac- 


cepted and taught Adamic perfection. We heard 
one of their preachers at the Bonus Camp-meeting 
in 1861 shouting as he walked the desk : " Glory 
to God for Adamic perfection !" Dr. Redfield, the 
great leader, says in an article : " We are compelled 
to indorse the doctrine that redemption must cover 
the entire evil resting on our race resulting from 
the fall; ... in breadth it must cover our moral 
nature and our mental faculties, embracing reason, 
memory, and all else pertaining to a thinking 
being." Mr. Wesley says : " Indeed, my judgment is 
that to overdo is to undo, and that to set perfection 
too high is the most effectual way of driving it out 
of the world." " Man," he says, " in his pres- 
ent state can no more attain Adamic perfection than 
angelic perfection." And yet the great cry against 
the loyal Methodist preachers was that they had re- 
jected the doctrines of Wesley. The chief error of 
the free people was in lowering justification ; hence 
in their tirades against the Methodist Episcopal 
Church and her ministers their chief burden was — 
persons not sanctified were unfit to belong to the 
Church. Many persons with whose experience the 
writer was well acquainted had been living cold- 
hearted and worldly, hardly being fit to have a 
name in the Church — some of them never con- 
verted — who, under the idea of seeking holiness, 
would be thoroughly converted or reclaimed, and 
would call their position holiness and their old position 
justification. One woman of our acquaintance said 
in meeting, and her experience was but a type of 
the experience of the whole body of the Nazarites : 


" I was for a long time a member of the Church, 
living only in the enjoyment of pardon. But I 
was unhappy. Sometimes I was so miserable I 
was near ending my own life, and came near mak- 
ing shipwreck of the marriage relation; but since I 
have obtained this great blessing I have never been 
troubled, but am free indeed." Having such an 
experience they would conclude all the other mem- 
bers of the Church were in such a sad condition. 
And none under our observation became Nazarites 
but reclaimed, backslidden professors, while all who 
were previous to the coming of the Nazarite liv- 
ing in the enjoyment of religion, remained un- 
swerved from their position in the Methodist Epis- 
copal Church. The only exceptions to the rule 
were among those who previous to the disaffec- 
tions were brought into the Church by Dr. Redfield. 
There was yet another element, which hastened se- 
cession. For several years previous to the General 
Conference of 1856 William Hosmer had been editor 
of the Northern Advocate, published by the Church 
at Auburn, New York. This was in the days 
of the slavery excitement in Church and State. 
Mr. Hosmer had grown rabid on the question, and 
was making the Northern the organ of sedition. 
The General Conference, whose duty it was, elected 
F. G. Hibbard, a man as truly antislavery as Hos- 
mer, but more prudent, as editor of the paper. The 
factions of New York, led on by Hiram Mattison, 
a self-seeking, restless spirit, who would destroy a 
world if he might have the credit of recreating it, 
and who was only kept in sight because he held on 


to the Church just as a barnacle travels by fasten- 
ing itself to a ship, united in establishing an oppo- 
sition paper, over which William Hosmer was set 
as editor, under the name of The Northern Inde- 
pendent. It was a very small imitation of the New 
York Independent, that religious power, and was a 
living shame on the men who began and upheld 
it. A man with a " grievance," no matter what, 
getting hold of a paper or a pulpit, can lead in- 
numerable partisans after him. Churches, repu- 
tation, any thing, will be left to ruin, to fol- 
low a factious man. The Independent was in 
no sense a Nazarite paper, but it became the or- 
gan of all the disappointed, disaffected persons in 
the whole Church. It became the sewer into which 
was poured the poisonous venom of every faction- 
ist from Maine to Kansas ; from Edgar Conkling 
to B. T. Roberts. The paper was sent to old 
friends of the Northern all over the land, and every- 
where people were led to believe our Church a 
Sodom, our bishops tyrants, and our ministers men 
of Satan. The Nazarites made it their organ, and 
by its means spread their peculiar spirit throughout 
the Church, publishing therein every lie and tor- 
tured truth that could be hunted up that would tell 
against the Methodist Episcopal Church. We can 
not wonder that the people were lead away, for of 
late in reviewing the matter while reading back 
numbers of the Free Methodist paper we should 
have been confused had we not been acquainted 
with the facts, which were not at all as represented 
by the immaculate young ministers of the Redfield 



clique. At last in 1860 the crisis came on. We 
have given a view of the preparation for it in the 
East; a word concerning the preparation in the 
West. Dr. Redfield was one of the chief agents 
both East and West. In the early days of his la- 
bors he was acceptable as a revivalist, but always 
had many unpleasant ways and notions, which had 
to be borne with. His whole experience in his 
early Christian life was a morbid one. He was ex- 
actly in religion what Edgar A. Poe, author of the 
" Raven," was in life and literature. He had a 
head and a mind almost the exact counterpart of 
Poe's. Morbid, erratic, brilliant but grim, he came 
near committing suicide to avoid preaching, and 
turned infidel because once a presiding elder got up 
a laugh by relating a pleasant incident. He became 
censorious, and even abusive, while yet employed 
by our Church. Various circumstances of his life 
caused him to become more and more warped, so 
that in 1856 he had hardly a membership in the 
Church. In 1856 he was invited West by the 
preacher at St. Charles, who supposed he was still 
an acceptable preacher in the Methodist Episcopal 
Church. The ministers of the West knew little of 
Redfield, and supposing he was all right, and only 
a little erratic in manner, employed him in pro- 
tracted meetings. He held meetings attended with 
great power at St. Charles, Elgin, Marengo, and 
Woodstock, and attended several camp-meetings. 
By this means many of his converts were brought 
into the Church ready to be led by him, among whom 
were many young men, who afterward became his 


preachers. Meantime, the days of division in New 
York drew on. In 1858 B. T. Roberts and Joseph 
McCreary were expelled from the Genesee Confer- 
ence. The charges against Mr. Roberts were mainly 
drawn from articles of a slanderous nature written 
by him for the Northern Independent. In 1859 four 
more ministers were expelled from the conference. 
The charges were mainly for working with and aid- 
ing Mr. Roberts in holding meetings in opposition 
to the Church. At the same session Bishop Simp- 
son gave the decision, which the General Confer- 
ence of 1860 revoked, that where a company of per- 
sons set up regular meetings independent of the 
regular Church the preacher in charge, with the 
concurrence of the official board, might declare 
them "withdrawn." Under this decision the first 
severances were consummated, both in the East and 
in Illinois. We of the West knew little about the 
troubles East, and having never met so curious a 
people as the free folks were not prepared for their 
manner of doing things.* It appears that at several 
camp-meetings of 1859 the young Redfieldite ex- 
horters made friends with the people in all parts of 
the country, and it would seem that a concerted 
scheme was entered into, by which it was under- 
stood that protracted meetings were to be com- 
menced during the session of the Rock River Con- 
ference, so that it could not be said the preachers' 
rights were interfered with. Dr. Redfield and E. 
P. Hart, in 1859, engaged in such a meeting at 
Queen Ann, near Woodstock, at the very time Mr. 
Hart was admitted into the Rock River Conference. 


I was appointed to Ogle (now Ashton) at the 
conference of 1859, and on going to the charge I 
found meetings in progress at the stone school- 
house, being conducted by a young exhorter from 
Elgin, J. G. Terrill by name. He had gone to the 
school-house instead of the church, near by, so as 
to be independent of the preacher. I invited the 
preacher to the church. Soon Dr. Redfield came, 
and the wildest storm ever witnessed in the West 
began. The converts joined the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church, and for the whole year we had them on 
hand. They were waiting for the organization of 
the new Church, and after the Free Methodist 
Church was formed a large company went off from 
Ogle and formed a Free Methodist society there. 
At St. Charles Dr. Redfield preached at the same 
hour with the Methodist pastor, and the members 
who attended were declared " withdrawn," and that 
was the origin of the Free Methodist there. Else- 
where they withdrew and formed Free Methodist 




BUT let us return to our narrative, and for a space 
trace the new charges that appeared between 
1860 and 1864. 

Among the new charges of 1860 was Lamont, 
formerly Athens — from whence came the "Athens 
marble," used in Chicago — on the canal, where a 
church was commenced in 1860, and a promising 
little society began its life. In 1861 the preacher, 
B. T. Vincent, reported thirty-five members ; forty 
dollars raised for missions ; a Sunday-school with 
one hundred and ten scholars. The church was 
completed in 1864 and dedicated by Dr. Eddy. 

Belden, as the " Deats Settlement," had been a 
leading appointment on Crystal Lake Circuit from 
1839. Under the care of a Brother Cook there was 
for years the best country Sunday-school in the con- 

New MiLFqED is a small town six miles south 
of Rockford, on the Kishwaukie, which had been 
for many years included in the Cherry Valley 

In 1861 Genoa Circuit was formed by a di- 
vision of the Kingston Circuit. Big Rock was 
made up of the fragments of the Sugar Grove Circuit. 


W. F. Stewart, while on the City Mission, began 
to preach at Bridgeport in private houses in 1861. 
His were the first Protestant religious services in 
the place. Soon a neat house of worship was dedi- 
cated to the service of God, and a fine, prosperous 
Sunday-school organized. In 1863 there was a 
Bridgeport tent at the Chicago Camp-meeting, in 
which were many faithful laborers. The members 
in 1862 numbered forty, and there was a Sunday- 
school with about two hundred scholars. 

Palatine appeared in 1863. It was one of the 
growing stations on the Northwestern Railway. 
In the Winter of 1858 three Methodist brethren 
began a prayer-meeting in a frame school-house. 
The crowd gathered in and the little band sent for 
Thomas Cochran, the preacher on the Wheeling 
Circuit, to come and commence a meeting. He 
went, and a glorious revival followed, resulting in 
the conversion of as many as forty persons, among 
whom was G. W. Hawks, a noted Universalist, who 
has since become a useful Methodist preacher. Dur- 
ing the Summer a church was commenced. The 
place continued to be an appointment on Elk Grove 
Circuit until 1863. 

Soman auk first appeared a separate charge in 
1863. On the old Little Rock Circuit the appoint- 
ment for Somanauk and Sandwich was at the red 
school-house, where Sandwich now stands. As long 
ago as 1857 a class was organized at Somanauk Sta- 
tion, and the place supplied with preaching by the 
Sandwich preachers. William R. Seeley, a local 
preacher, was sent to the charge by the elder in 1863, 

RESUME OF THE WORK FROM 1860-1864. 503 

and during the Summer, under his lead, with Mr. 
Gage as cashier, the Somanauk people put up the 
neatest village church in the conference. It was 
planned by O. S. Kinney, a Chicago architect. The 
foundation is of brick, with room for the furnace. 
The main portion is wood, with a sharp Gothic 
roof, and large and small corner towers. The small 
tower is the chimney. The interior is most beau- 
tiful. You enter through doors in the larger tower, 
and behold a room beautifully frescoed, with stained 
pointed windows, and a recess in the rear of the 
pulpit for the leaders in singing. The cost in the 
times of 1864 high-prices was three thousand two 
hundred dollars. The church was dedicated on 
Sunday, November 20, 1864, by Dr. Eddy. He 
gave the audience one of his best sermons, and took 
in good subscriptions in a short time — two thou- 
sand two hundred dollars — to apply on the in- 

Two new charges appeared in 1864 ; they were 
Trinity Church, built by a colony from old 
"Clark Street," and South Rockford. West 
Rockford is divided by Kent Creek, and ever 
since 1856 a town has been growing up south of 
this. The extensive Rockford reaper factories are 
situated in South Rockford, and these have gathered 
around them a large population. Court Street 
Church established a Sunday-school in the school - 
house in 1856, which has continued with great suc- 
cess ever since. In March, 1864, some forty or 
fifty persons were organized by the presiding elder 
into a separate charge, and this society at once, un- 


der the lead of Israel Sovereign, set about building 
a church. This was completed so as to be dedi- 
cated on Sunday, February 12, 1865. This was a 
great day for the Rockford Methodists. The serv- 
ices were suspended in the other Methodist churches, 
and the new temple was crowded to overflowing. 
Dr. Eddy preached in the morning, delivering a ser- 
mon aglow with religious fire upon the " Conceal- 
ments and Revealments of the Divine Truth." A 
subscription of three thousand dollars was taken 
after the morning service. Dr. Raymond preached 
in the afternoon a sermon clear, logical, and im- 
pressive, holding the audience intent for an hour 
and a half. After this sermon an additional thou- 
sand dollars was subscribed, after which the house 
was dedicated to God. In the evening J. H. Vin- 
cent preached a sermon full of his peculiar ability 
on the " True Unity of the Church." It was no 
small treat to listen to this matchless trio in one 
day uttering their very best preparations. A gra- 
cious work of God followed the dedication. This 
South Rock Church in 1865 was the best Metho- 
dist church in the city, and cost nine thousand dol- 
lars. It made four successful charges in Rockford, 
that neatest and most enterprising town in the 
conference, and the first place outside of Chicago 
that succeeded in sustaining permanently more than 
one charge. 

In 1853 the ladies of the different Methodist 
Churches in Chicago organized themselves into the 
" Ladies' City Missionary Society of Chicago," 
the object of which was to supply the destitute por- 

RESUME OF THE WORK FROM 1860-1864. 505 

tions of the city with preaching. They have kept 
effective men in their employ ever since. In 1855, 
when Sias Bolles was missionary, there were six 
regular appointments. In May, 1856, there were 
appointments at Wesley Chapel in the northern 
part of the city, where there were forty members ; 
at Harrison Street on the west side, corner of Har- 
rison and Division Streets, where there was a small 
church, but no society; and at Carville, where Trin- 
ity Church now is, and where there was then a so- 
ciety of twenty members. In 1862 there were three 
Churches connected with the mission, one on Sedg- 
wick Street on the north side, where there was a 
good revival in 1862; another on Park Avenue, 
where a society was organized in the Winter; and the 
third at Bridgeport. In September, 1862, there 
were about ninety members connected with the three 
preaching-places. The first missionary employed 
was Stewart Hamilton, who, though a layman, spent 
most of his time in visiting from house to house. 
He labored two years, and in 1855 was succeeded by 
Sias Bolles, when the mission was placed under the 
care of the conference. Mr. Bolles served one year; 
J. W. Jacobs served two years ; and was followed 
in 1858 by George Fellows, and he by David Teed 
in 1859. During this year Sedgwick Chapel was 
erected. In 1860 W. F. Stewart became the mis- 
sionary. He carefully surveyed the ground, and 
laid plans which contemplated the opening of new 
places of worship by the erection of cheap taber- 
nacles. Tabernacles, or temporary buildings, were 

erected at Park Avenue and Bridgeport, congrega- 



tions gathered, and Sunday-schools established. 
The places were supplied with preaching by the 
local preachers of the city and the students of the 
Biblical Institute. Mr. Stewart was succeeded by 
J. S. Chadwick in 1862. The Harrison Street Mis- 
sion became lost in the Des Plaines Street Charge. 
The society has from the beginning been perform- 
ing a needful and successful work, and coming 
years shall give us many prominent city charges, 
outgrowths of the small beginning connected with 
the city mission. The preachers employed by 
the society will have the credit of planting germs 
that shall grow into thrifty and influential city 
Churches. This refers to 1865. 

The year 1848 brought a new kind of laborer 
into the conference, and the year 1853 raised up 
new missions in our bounds. The laborer was 
Jonas J. Hedstkom, a Swede, and the mission 
was the Swede Charge in Chicago. In the year 
1832 O. G. Hedstrom (Pastor Hedstrom), a con- 
verted Swede, preached his first sermon in Allen 
Street Church, New York. He soon began to 
preach to the Scandinavian sailors of the city, and 
after a time a floating Bethel ship, John Wesley by 
name, was moored in the river at New York, which 
up to 1865 was the gathering-place of the roving 
Norsemen. Many of them have there been born 
into the kingdom of Christ. J. J. Hedstrom, a 
brother of the noted New York pastor, was born 
in Sweden, August 13, 1813. He came to this 
country in 1833, and was soon after converted 
through his brother's instrumentality. He soon 

RESUME OF THE WORK FROM 1860-1864. 507 

received license to exhort, and removing West was 
licensed to preach in 1839. He settled in Victoria, 
Knox County, where the Swedes were accumulat- 
ing a large colony. Mr. Hedstrom was at last in- 
duced to commence laboring among his people, and 
was admitted to the Rock River Conference in 
1848 in the same class with the writer of these 
sketches. He began his labors among the Swedes 
around Victoria, and at the conference of 1849 re- 
ported ninety members. In 1850 his first fellow- 
laborer entered the conference. The work increased 
under Mr. Hedstrom's superintendence until his 
death in 1859. He left, when he died, ten minis- 
ters in the field to carry on the work he had begun. 
He had labored faithfully, and his death was tri- 
umphant. When told by his physician the evening 
before his death that he could live no longer than 
till the morning he broke forth into exultant thanks- 
giving, exclaiming: "Glory be to Jesus!" He 
died in the morning of May 11, 1859. His last 
words were : " Come, Jesus ; come, sweet Jesus !" 

The Swede missions were confined to the bounds 
of the present Central Illinois Conference until 
1853, when a mission was begun and a society or- 
ganized in Chicago. O. G. Hedstrom came West 
and explored the field a few weeks before the or- 
ganization of the society, and preached in Chicago 
on Christmas day, 1852. The Preachers' Associa- 
tion advised the commencement of a Swede Mission 
in the city, and Bishop Janes appointed S. B. New- 
man to the charge. He arrived from New York 
January 21, 1853, and at once organized a class, 


consisting of forty members, which soon increased 
to eighty, and at the conference in 1853 one hun- 
dred and twenty-three members were reported. In 
1860 a mission was commenced at Rockford, where 
the Swedes had in the year 1865 a neat little church. 
In the year 1863 the Rockford Swede preacher 
Victor Witting, commenced the publication of a 
Swede weekly paper. In November, 1864, the Chi- 
cago Book Concern assumed the responsibility of 
publishing the periodical, and it was soon estab- 
lished on a firm basis, and has since prospered well. 
The Swede missions of Illinois are all now included 
in one district in connection with the Central Illinois 
Conference, and have a Swede presiding elder. In 
the West, as outgrowths of the labors of J. J. Hed- 
strom, there were in 1864 eleven charges, with 
twelve preachers, one thousand one hundred and 
fifty-two members, sixteen churches worth nineteen 
thousand dollars, and two hundred and sixty-eight 
scholars in Sunday-schools. 

We have thus passed in review the rise and 
progress of the work in the various portions of the 
conference. We take room to call attention to a 
few items, and then our tedious work of years in 
gathering and transcribing will be done. 

At the first session of the conference three thou- 
sand six hundred and fifty members were reported 
in the present conference bounds. The total mission 
money was four hundred and twenty dollars, which 
was reported from all the territory, including Wis- 
consin and Iowa. There were but five churches in 
the conference. These were at Galena (built 1833), 

RESUME OF THE WORK FROM 1860-1864. 509 

Chicago (1834), Lighthouse Point, Princeton, Elgin 
(1838). The whole five may have been worth two 
thousand dollars. 

In contrast we insert the report for 1884 : There 
are, including probationers, twenty-eight thousand 
members; two hundred and eighty-nine churches, 
worth two million sixty-five thousand one hundred 
and forty dollars; nineteen thousand six hundred 
dollars mission collections. Seventy-four members 
of the conference died between 1840 and 1885. 
These were: C. D. Cahoon, J. Leckenbee, D. Fel- 
lows, Freeborn Haney, A. R. Shinn, B. F. Bestor, 
O. W. Munger, William Palmer, A. E. Phelps, A. 
Wooliscroft, John Clark, S. Mattison, W. S. Fid- 
ler, Allen Head, James McKean, M. L. Reed, J. 
L. Mulfinger, A. L. Adams, C. A. Roe, U. Von 
Gundin, H. C. Blackwell, John Sinclair, C. P. 
Bragdon, I. Scarritt, D. Casscday, C. M. Wood- 
ward, John Dempster, Milton Bourne, F. D. Cor- 
win, Warren Taplin, A. S. W. McCausland, J. 
Frost, C. M. Webster, D. Appleford, L. Holt, J. 
G. Cross, A. G. Smith, T. M. Goodfellow, Will- 
iam Vallett, C. French, P. K. Rye, R. A. Blanch- 
ard, W. D. Skelton, George Lovesee, E. D. Gould, 
S. Ambrose, M. Decker, D. L. Winslow, J. W. 
Davisson, Philo Judson, C. C. Bushby, J. H. 
Leonard, C. Perkins, William Kegan, S. H. Stock- 
ing, G. Libby, R. Gillespie, William H. Gloss, 
Hooper Crews, J. Borbridge, S. A. W. Jewett, 
C. Brookins, J. W. Agard, M. Hanna, J. R. Burns, 
S. P. Burr, Z. D. Paddock, James Bush, L. A. 
Sanford, C. F. Krider, T. H. Haseltine, Henry 


Hill, S. G. Lathrop, and L. S. Walker — men whose 
lives we hope to portray in another volume, to be 
issued in about a year. 

We have thus passed in review the rise and 
progress of the work in the various portions of the 
conference, and now dismiss the reader to other toils 
and incidents.